Whilst times have changed and views have liberalised, the Gay Beat is not showing any signs of disappearing. With the advent of the Internet, particularly smartphone apps like Grindr, cruising Beats for many young men, can appear as an anachronism. However, whilst cruising a Beat might have been one of the only places for men to have sex with other men in the seventies, new problems such as where to host and the added excitement of sex, even nominally in public, means that while beats may be less frequented, they definitely aren’t gone for good.
The ANU’s Campus is home to a considerable number of areas which could be considered Beats. Apart from the obvious, such as anywhere debating is being held and Bergmann College, the most well known Beat at The ANU is the Chifley Library. To be even more precise, the third floor men’s bathrooms, where many past students fondly remember a mid-cram-session BJ. This is followed by the Copeland Building’s ground floor bathroom. The rest of The ANU Library’s bathrooms have been used as hotbeds of activity but the Chifley Library, by virtue of its renown throughout the wider Canberra Community, is the most familiar at The ANU.
If however you want to get away from the classroom bathroom paradigm, the ACT’s most famous Beat is right on our doorstep of Black Mountain and Black Mountain Peninsula, a five minute bike ride from The ANU. Known throughout the Canberra community, it’s not uncommon for there to be up to twenty men on a Friday or Saturday night discreetly ‘cruising’ each other.
Whilst these are the most known in Canberra, from Central Park in NYC to the Lake George rest stop, Beats are everywhere, you just have to be willing find them.