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What can we do as a community? If the flyer was simple, the matter of the closures certainly was not. By the time city health officials announced the closure of 14 bathhouses, most of them gay, along with other clubs and bookstores that offered private rooms for sex, they had counted at least dead. For city leaders, it was a matter of public health. For many sexx the gay community, bathhouses were where men would have sex with men, yes, but also places where they might build community.

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And so he learned about the ban and started asking questions. Public health or individual liberty? More from Ryan Kost.

There was no antibody test for the virus — that was still a year off — and the question of transmission was still unanswered. For many in the gay community, bathhouses were where men would have sex with men, yes, but also places where they might build community.

What mattered most? Supporting a move by the city was suddenly the lesser of two evils.

The mayor approved the move on July What can we do as a community? You had people who were afraid to hug.

Now, although the city does not have an official count, activists estimate that there are 30 to 50 clubs in Sexx York where gay sex is taking place. By October, under those new rules, 14 bathhouses were ordered to close.

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Three and a half years later, he found himself testifying before the Board of Supervisors, closing the loop on a decades-long fight. As conversations around COVID and best practices for reopening and curbing the spread of the virus unfold daily, the parallels are hard wex ignore.

Some say the clusb should monitor sexual activity in such clubs because the survival of a new generation of gay men is at stake. Many are a new type of club that emerged at the end of the s, "essentially mutual masturbation or group masturbation places," said Jim Eigoa writer and AIDS activist who was one of people at a community forum clugs to debate the issue last month. If the flyer was simple, the matter of the closures certainly was not.

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Rotello and others are campaigning to force the clubs to comply with the state health code, which prohibits oral, anal or vaginal sex in commercial establishments. Drugs exist that all but prevent the transmission of HIV, even by those who carry the virus, and public health approaches to sexual education have modernized.

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But he was tasked with maintaining public health. AIDS activists who oppose a crackdown complain that the state health code makes no distinction between sex with and without a condom. Gabriel Rotello, former editor of the now-defunct gay magazine Outweek, wrote in New York Newsday that during a visit to another sex club, Zone DK, he had witnessed "a murder-suicide" -- two men having unprotected sex.

It is a s-style bathhouse with private cubicles where patrons' sexual practices cannot be monitored. Two weeks later, in AprilSilverman announced that bathhouses would be inspected and monitored — and no longer offer private rooms. The action came after a bruising debate pitting club supporters, including many gay political leaders, against other prominent gay men, such as "And the Band Played On" author and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts.

He felt the clubs had to be closed to slow the AIDS epidemic.

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It was an extremely uncomfortable situation for all of us. Nobody wanted to watch their friends die or wonder whether they might be next.

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Meanwhile, the AIDS Foundation and activists saw the closures as shortsighted, arguing that the bathhouses could be potential hubs for sexual health education. Protesters compared the move to something out of Nazi Germany. They want to forbid all oral and anal sex, whether or not condoms are used.

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By the time city health officials announced the closure of 14 bathhouses, most of them gay, along with other clubs and bookstores that offered private rooms for sex, they had counted at least dead. For city leaders, it was a matter of public health. But gay rights were also tenuous at the time; sodomy laws were still pervasive and sexual liberation was seen as key to gay liberation.

Opponents of a crackdown say there is nothing wrong with men having sex in bars and clubs as long as they are using condoms.

Why not San Francisco? They say men are just as likely to have unsafe sex with a lover in a bedroom as with a stranger in a back room.

The ban no longer made sense.