Scott Barnes

What Gives?

Filed By Scott Barnes | August 24, 2006 11:59 AM | comments

Filed in: Living

Two days ago, my partner and I had an appointment together concerning something that was stressful, to say the least. Since it was a perfect day outside, I thought it would relax us a bit to get some fresh air first, so we left early and decided to sit in Broad Ripple Park to talk. The park was literally full of young mothers with their toddlers and preschoolers, so Jay and I decided to walk to the back of the park to sit on the little pier that overlooks the river.

About 10 minutes into our conversation, a park ranger appeared with an Indianapolis police officer. They asked to see our IDs and started asking a line of ridiculous questions, considering the fact that we were literally just sitting there. The cop told us that they "received a call" but quickly realized we weren't doing anything wrong and even cracked jokes about the whole event, but also said that he couldn't let us go until he made sure we didn't have any "prior arrests."

During the 10 minutes it took for our records to come back, we made pleasant small talk with the officer and then walked away from the situation slightly amused. But the longer I'm away from it the more angry I'm becoming. The woman who called, the cop admitted, gave an exact description of what Jay and I were wearing — despite the fact that neither my boyfriend nor I said one word to one child (or other adult, for that matter), remained within public view, and never lifted a finger to touch each other, just the fact that we were THERE warranted a call to the police. I realize that some fools men still have sex in parks, and I realize that there are pedophiles in the world — but are the women of America so afraid that the mere sight of two men in a park makes them call the police?

I guess MEN just aren't supposed to be in "public" parks anymore. (And this is when the Libertarian in me comes out — if you don't want me going to a so-called public park, then I'd appreciate it if you quit taking money from MY tax dollars to support them.)

I've already written a letter to the Indianapolis Star, and I'm thinking about writing to the mayor's office and Nuvo, as well.

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Scott, you should definitely write the mayor and Nuvo. In fact, you should probably include the director of IndyParks and your city-county councilor as well. Being the loudmouth that I am, I'd probably call every TV station in town too.

It is outrageous that two men can't stroll the park in broad daylight without getting the police called. What kind of sick person concocts wild sexual fantasies about two men that are so vivid they need to call the police to report it?


I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but that is Councilman Bradford's district. And it's frighteningly close to Councilman Schneider's district.

Something in the air. maybe...goofiness abounds.

Sorry for your troubles, Scott. It shouldn't have happened. It's outrageous.

If I were in your position I'd get legal advise on the possibility of filing a cross-complaint agaisnt the woman reporting her unfounded 'concern'.

Melissa Williams | August 24, 2006 3:28 PM

I am very sorry this happened to you. I am also sad, angry, and outraged that this is happening in our community. I would write to the governor, senators, and Julia Carson as well. This a prime example of why there is a "brain drain" in this state. What is your profession? Is it marketable? Are you involved in community/civic organizations? If so, I would mention it in your letters. I love to threaten my representatives that I am going to leave this state with my marketable degree if things don't change. I get letters every time.

Scott, my comments would mirror what everyone here has just said. But I also want to convey my sorrow at this incident. I think the woman who called the police is the twisted person to even think of doing such a thing, without thinking of the consequences you might endure.

Yes, write, call and e-mail! Do it as soon as possible. As far as I'm concerned, you were subjected to undue harrassment!

I am saddened by the events that have happened to you. I would make a big stink about this in the press, call the ACLU and garner some attention about this problem.

As a former daycare volunteer, let me say two men talking to each other are definately not a motive for concern. The woman has a mental template, politically motivated, or not it does not matter much, that "gay" equals "pedophile", and she is driven to act on it. She is wrong, according to all scientific observation, and her agenda is dangerous.

I am very sorry you were subjected to such outrageous harrassment. Sounds as if the police were professional under the circumstances, which is an improvement over past days.


In light of your decision to pursue nothing more than your ineffective letter writing campaign my own sardonic boldness compels me to suggest that in the future you confine your whoa-is-me-plea-for-sympathy to your own more appropriate pee-pee-hanging-out blog.

Seriously, dude, if you got a stress disorder that keeps you from taking effective action than you need to seek professional help and not draw unsuspecting others into your drama. Certainly, there?s darn few of us that don?t have enough of our own daily tragedy to deal without getting suck into that of others who blow-off suggestions of constructive recourse.

what the hell is a "pee-pee-hanging-out blog"?

Kevin, I have no idea what a "pee-pee hanging out blog" means, but; if it contributed in even the smallest way to activating Scott's further movement in the right direction (getting a copy of the police report) then this would be me doing my happy dance with humph:

There is an overwhelming paranoia these days about protecting the children from "sexual predators". It's really quite ridiculous because a child is far more likely to be molested by an uncle or a stepdad than a stranger in a park.

Altho it was an unfortunate occurance, I think one must remember it was ONE woman who made a call. There are idiots everywhere. This isn't an epidemic that is attacking gays all over Indiana. It was an isolated incident. I think writing letters to newspapers is fine, but to public officials? The officer did nothing wrong- so where's the rub? With the woman? Anyone can make an overzealous call to the police. Unfortunately, there's no way other than writing to a newspaper to get that fact out and hope the she or a "future" paranoidess reads it and calms down.

As one who grew up next to a park- and played in it constantly- I was pretty inraged to learn that gay men not only frequented the park for sex, but that it was listed in a national gay magazine as a great place to go for such activity. Maybe in balance to writing to the newspapers, one could also go after gays who frequent parks for this activity and writing to magazines that endorse and advertise it. (pre-emptive note: just cause a lot of the men arrested are "married" does not mean they are straight... once you cross that line, there's no going back).

A. N. Observer | September 8, 2006 2:33 PM

If two men in a park have done doing nothing of an exhibitionist nature (gay or otherwise) no one would know their sexual orientation.

I'm sure mothers with kids in the park are equally suspicious of straight guys moseying around an area where kids are playing these days. Kidnapping is as big a worry as anything for many parents. We know rape-murderers come in all orientations and usually seem innocent right up until it's too late.

I'd simply suggest that a public park with kids playing is not the wisest choice for any "stressful to say the least" adult conversation. Privacy in public is an unrealistic expectation and those who insist on attempting it should always be prepared to lose the gamble.