Hylands park was described as a 'woods with a lot of action'. You may think of 'cruising' as a term for a holiday on a large ship travelling around the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Another term often associated with the practice is "cottaging, a gay slang term referring to anonymous sex in public toilets. Sex between men in public has died out in recent years, thanks partly to the acceptance of non-heterosexuality in the UK and the rise of mobile dating apps like Grindr. But for some, cruising still remains a useful way to meet other like-minded men to engage in sexual activity.
Soho will always have a place in gay London, however as rent prices increase and more locals move out to the fringe neighbourhoods, the LGBTQ scene has seen a slight revival and resurgence elsewhere in the city. With a small stage for drag shows and live DJs next to the dance floor, The Glory is a trendy pub for a cold pint or a cocktail. Located on Kingsland Road, the eclectic space is all about performances, with Saturdays being the favourite for both local and foreign adventurers. Prices are welcoming and many activities are free before midnight, with an entrance of five pounds for late-comers. The gay pub is co-owned by legendary East London performer, Jonny Woo.
Gay cruising describes the act of searching about a public place in pursuit of a partner for sex. The activity has existed in England and Wales since at least the 17th century and has a colourful legal history. It differs from prostitution in that the parties involved do not seek money for sex, and from gay nightclubs or bathhouses in that they are not on private premises, although they may take place on private land to which the public have been granted access. The history of gay cruising is sparsely documented, as the illegality of gay sex meant that those who used such cruising grounds were likely to be discreet about them.
The reasons for cruising can be as diverse as the very men who are doing it. Born out of necessity, cruising used to be an essential way for men to find each other in times where there were no acceptable places for them to congrega y te. While these circumstances might have changed in our increasingly progressive world — gay cruising has prevailed in a number of places, offering a sex-positive environment for men to meet each other, free from the restrictions of regular society. An emotionally laden journey filled with lust and anticipation, rejection and acceptance, fear, and excitement.