No Kissing Allowed . . . Unless, Of Course, You’re Straight

For those of you not aware, June is LGBT Pride Month. And, incidentally, there has also been a lot of news with regards to rights for same-sex couples. The California Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, and legal same-sex marriages will start being performed later on this month. Governor Paterson issued a directive that New York state agencies need to start adhering to a NY court ruling that mandated legal same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions be recognized in the state.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court rejected challenges to its ruling. And even the talk that NY Republicans were going to fight Paterson’s directive has thus far turned out to be untrue.

Which of course means that it’s time for us to see some crazy-ass backlash.

Last week, a woman complained that she was asked by an usher at a Seattle Mariner’s game to stop kissing her female date.

The incident has exploded on local TV, on talk radio and in the blogosphere and has touched off a debate over public displays of affection in generally gay-friendly Seattle.

“Certain individuals have not yet caught up. Those people see a gay or lesbian couple and they stare or say something,” said Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington. “This is one of the challenges of being gay. Everyday things can become sources of trauma.”

As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date were approached in the third inning by an usher who told them their kissing was inappropriate, Guerrero said.

The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.

“I was really just shocked,” Guerrero said. “Seattle is so gay-friendly. There was a couple like seven rows ahead making out. We were just showing affection.”

On Monday, Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale said that the club is investigating but that the usher was responding to a complaint of two women “making out” and “groping” in the stands.

“We have a strict non-discrimination policy at the Seattle Mariners and at Safeco Field, and when we do enforce the code of conduct it is based on behavior, not on the identity of those involved,” Hale said.

The code of conduct – announced before each game – specifically mentions public displays of affection that are “not appropriate in a public, family setting.” Hale said those standards are based on what a “reasonable person” would find inappropriate.

Guerrero denied she and her date were groping each other, saying that along with eating garlic fries, they were giving each other brief kisses.

So what we have here are bigots who believe that their own rights are so very grand and the rights of those they look down upon so very few that they can dictate all behavior in their presence, regardless of how incredibly harmless. They’re cowards, who apparently can’t even bother to talk to the “offending” individuals themselves and instead hide behind those in places of authority as a means to enforce their bigotry. And then, we’ve got those in a position of authority who are actually willing to appease the bigots!

For all of the cases where very real complaints involving imminent danger are ignored and mocked by authority figures, it seems that those same authority figures are perfectly willing to bend over backwards to appease those who engage in completely pointless whining. My first inclination is to ask how we got to this point, but that’s a red herring which involves supposing that there is some sort of contradiction. There’s not. In both situations, response and non-response, the interests of the dominant class are upheld, and the kyriarchy wins.

The worst part, of course, is that this particular incident is in no way shape or form an isolated one. And the basis upon which ignorant fucks argue their right to take out their ignorant fuckery on other people endlessly fascinates me.

Web sites have been swamped with blog postings for and against Guerrero and her date. And the story has people talking in Seattle.

“I would be uncomfortable” seeing public displays of affection between lesbians or gay men, said Jim Ridneour, a 54-year-old taxi driver. “I don’t think it’s right seeing women kissing in public. If I had my family there, I’d have to explain what’s going on.”

“It all depends on the degree,” Mark Ackerman said as he waited for a hot dog outside Safeco Field before Wednesday’s game. “Even for heterosexual couples.”

[. . .]

In 2007, an Oregon transit agency chief apologized after a lesbian teenager was kicked off a bus when a passenger complained about her kissing another girl.

Also in 2007, a gay rights group protested a Kansas City, Mo., restaurant they said ejected four women because two of them kissed, and a Texas state trooper was placed on probation in 2004 for telling two gay men who were kissing at the state Capitol that homosexual conduct was illegal in Texas.

“There’s a double standard. That’s the bottom line,” said Pat Griffin, director of the It Takes a Team! Education Campaign, an initiative from the Women’s Sports Foundation to eliminate homophobia in sports.

Now, I’ve made it fully clear that this is an issue of outright homophobia (and that should be apparent without my help anyway). But arguments in favor of discriminatory behavior are never isolated, and you’ll hear the same exact kind of arguments running around in support of all kinds of public censorship. This “what will I tell my kids?” crap comes up a lot. One example is the “Hoohah Monologues” circus. The woman who complained was very upset that her niece, who was old enough to be able to read the sign, asked what a “vagina” is. And the woman had to answer it! Oh the agony those damn liberals cause by making innocent people engage with reality!

Like with the girl who wanted to know what a vagina was, if your kid asks you why two women are kissing, and you feel the need to provide an explanation beyond “well, probably for the same reason that most people kiss, because they like each other,” one of two things is going on: 1. you’re a shit parent and probably also a homophobic asshole or 2. your child is very young, you were therefore going to get to the “sometimes boys like boys, and sometimes girls like girls” talk very soon, and you should appreciate the teaching moment. If you’re upset by the development of having to provide an explanation, you can take #1 and double it.

Dan Savage (one of my favorite people; you have to love a newspaper editor who will say “fuck you” to a reader in the comments) has called for a kiss-in protest at Safeco Field — but without any current explicit plans, I’m not sure about his seriousness. It does sound like fun response, though.

Your thoughts on the asshattery?

0 thoughts on “No Kissing Allowed . . . Unless, Of Course, You’re Straight

  1. Judith

    I find this whole thing very interesting, because it never occurred to me that we might reach a day when gay PDAs are acceptable. If we’re getting there? Wow! Right on!

    When I was 17, my girlfriend and I encountered a lot of this. She wasn’t out to her parents, so we could only meet in public places. We’d share kisses at the skating rink, the pool hall, and of course, the back row of the movie theatre. People would often approach us and tell us to stop, either in a cruel way or just “you’re making me uncomfortable, you need to quit it.” I never thought the latter was that bad – frankly, I was scared as fuck to be kissing her in public because we lived in the South and a gay male friend of mine had been recently beaten nearly to death at school. I figured a polite request, even with the disgust behind it, was okay. I felt that I was doing something wrong, and bound to get in trouble. The same thing would happen at the movies – heterosexual couples who were also making out would tap our shoulders and tell us to stop because it was ruining their experience, or just snort and make rude noises until we gave up.

    So yeah, I think it’s great that people are taking notice! It’s scary as all hell to kiss another woman in public, even now, as an adult in a relatively gay friendly area (Iowa City). I’d love to feel “normal” in this regard, one day.

    Reply
  2. jfpbookworm

    Guerrero denied she and her date were groping each other, saying that along with eating garlic fries, they were giving each other brief kisses.

    The only problem I see here is that there’s obviously not enough garlic in the garlic fries.

    Reply
  3. SunlessNick

    This “what will I tell my kids?” crap comes up a lot.

    This particular bigot is even worse, since she didn’t even have any specific kids in mind, just hypothetical ones whose parents might have to answer questions she hoped they would find awkward.

    And good catch calling out the cowardice of them.

    Reply
  4. Rachel

    I just have to say I think it’s awesome how much of an advocate you are across the board. Thank you.

    I’ve been with my girlfriend for about 3 years, and out for 2 – I’m at the point now where I’m pretty much comfortable with PDA. I sort of want to put it out there as a challenge to the sleepy, self-righteous consciousness of what’s been traditionally considered socially acceptable. She, however, is way less comfortable with it, although she’s been out for about eight years. We have yet to encounter someone actually telling us to stop, but we do get the stares.

    As someone who was in a heterosexual marriage for nearly ten years, I find it frustrating to be in this position – at the movies, walking through the mall, at the grocery store, it’s difficult to do what hetero couples do. Just the simple act of touching her back and saying, “Honey, what about this yogurt?” has attracted stares. But I’ll keep doing what we do, because I do believe we can reach a point where same-sex public displays of affection are acceptable. And I think one of the ways we can make that happen is by acting as though we, the gay people, believe there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Rachel

    Reply
  5. Kristen

    “This “what will I tell my kids?” crap comes up a lot.”

    Presumably what I told my niece(ish) when we were at the Mall looking at the Cherry Blossoms a few weeks ago.

    She said full of indignation “Auntie there are two women kissing!”

    And I smiled and said, “Yes they are.”

    “But why are they kissing?”

    “I suppose because they love each other.” [ed. note. Okay, so this is a highly simplistic explanation, but she’s only 5.]

    “But girls are supposed to kiss booooooyyyyyss! Am I supposed to kiss a girl?”

    “Only if you want to. When you’re older [she interjected here with that big 5 year old sigh of annoyance that seems to be a full body spasm], you may fall in love with girls or boys [in retrospect and/or would have been better]. And if you want to kiss them you should.” [Again, I know love/lust is bad to lump, but that’s all I felt comfortable saying, particularly since she isn’t my kid.]

    That’s not that hard is it?

    Reply
  6. Jemima

    Good post. I am so very glad homosexual PDAs aren’t frowned upon here. Mind, some probably would, but there wouldn’t be any stories of this magnitude. Denmark is blessedly progressive and the Danes wonderfully open-minded. Mostly, at least. It doesn’t cover all issues, racism especially is a touchy point over here, but homophobia appears to not be half as bad as it is in the States.

    Reply
  7. SunlessNick

    “I would be uncomfortable” seeing public displays of affection between lesbians or gay men, said Jim Ridneour, a 54-year-old taxi driver.

    So look away, craphead. That’s what I do when I see couples kissing (of any type).

    I’m sick of these types being given the benefit of the moral framing, as if their position is a moral conviction or abstract philosophical point deserving of respect. Fuck that, their position predicated on wrecking people’s lives based on who they love – it’s flat-out immoral and deserves nothing but contempt.

    Reply

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