Saturday, August 15, 2009

Open Forum: Public Display of Affection

Today's topic coincides with the great nationwide kiss-in where same-sex couples, friends, and allies will gather in dozens of cities around the country to demonstrate that gay PDA is okay. PDA regardless of whether it is straight or gay always brings up different emotions in people, with some who love to embrace their partner(s) and others who don't feel that kind of behavior is appropriate.

Are you going to the nationwide kiss-in? How do you feel about public display of affection? How does your sexuality or gender identity impact your decision, ability, and comfort when it comes to PDA?

12 comments:

Isaac said...

I don't like seeing too much public display of affection in the street. I tolerate better it among same-sex couples or with a gender-nonconformist part inside a conservative environment, but only because of its vindicative component. It's not uncommon to consider public display of affection gross among the asexual community, and it's probably more common among the aromantics like me, but I don't know for sure. So, I think that our orientation has an impact.

Matt said...

I think that labelling PDA as "inappropriate" perpetuates the Victorian notion that human sexuality is private, undesirable and dirty. Surely the first step to overcoming gender/sexual stratification is to eliminate the antiquated and ridiculous idea that sexuality itself is something to be ashamed of? Yes, PDA gets annoying when the ONLY thing a ‘couple’ does at a restaurant or at a mall is make out. But I don’t get annoyed if couples kiss or embrace in a moment of affection – regardless of their gender dynamic. That said, being a man who is attracted to men and in a same-sex relationship I don’t display affection in public because of the verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse that follows all too often in South Africa. I am, however, constantly working on this excessive sensitivity. I think steps like the U.S. kiss-in are necessary to shift attitudes and make people realise that sexuality, regardless of its various manifestations, is completely natural.

Queers United said...

Isaac - what about romantic asexuals? Also, I am fine with PDA among gay couples and straight allies but feel kinda pissed when heterosexuals don't realize what they take for granted.

Matt - I agree but some people do consider it inappropriate, and this is an opportunity for all sides to express themselves. I don't think sharing your love is inappropriate, I think censoring or denying your love is what is wrong.

Isaac said...

QU - I've read opinions on AVEN of any possible combination of romantic orientation and opinion about PDA. I don't know any poll which could show quantitative (but non-scientific) data. I presume that romantic asexuals are more likely to approve PDA than aromantics, and because of that I said that we the aromantics might be more negative towards PDA.

Matt - For some asexuals, human sexuality is private, undesirable and gross. They're not hypocrites, this is what they feel from their own experience, independently of the education they've received.

Truthspew said...

I don't care about arm over shoulder, kissing, etc.

Living where I do I have no problem holding my SO's hand, or even hugging or kissing on the street. It just isn't a big deal here.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, I find it unnecessary. Straight, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Cisgender, Black, White, Purple, Blue, Orange or Green.

I think a small peck or hand-holding is alright (I don't even do that), but anything else is irksome.

Debra Healy said...

My partner and I went to the Kiss-In today at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, Oregon. We love each other. We kissed. We went out for lunch. :)

CrackerLilo said...

I had to work today. I wish I hadn't missed the Kiss-In. Sucks. Oh, well. I'm glad people like Debra Healy above went!

I'm tired, so I'll recycle material. I wrote the following in my blog last night, among other things:

L'Ailee and I are pretty ladylike, sticking to hand-holding and little pecks in public. It's easier to be ladylike now--we did have our moments at airports in our long-distance days. We know it's still a bit of a statement to hold hands at NASCAR races and hockey games, events where same-sex couples don't often express affection, so we do it anyway. (At least we don't deep-kiss to celebrate one of our drivers being up front or a goal by a member of one of our teams, like we do at home!) We have kissed in public just to make a point before, several times. The point is always this: "Don't you *ever* f...ing think you have the f...ing self-declared authority to tell us, two fellow adult citizens, your legal *equals*, that we aren't f...ing *allowed* be ourselves within your line of vision." My favorite of these incidents happened shortly after I moved into L'Ailee's place for good. We exchanged a quick little kiss on her--oops, our--front stoop before parting. A Muslim woman in a chador came up to us and ranted about how we were "showing off our sinfulness" in front of her children. Always the children. *sighs*

...My hair, then as now, reached the middle of my back. [L'Ailee] bent me so far back that the ends of my hair brushed the ground, took off my glasses, and proceeded to deep-kiss me like she was going off to war! When we finally came up for air, we found we had some spectators. The Muslimah wasn't among them. I kinda wish she'd come back...

Cerberus said...

I like seeing it and I like doing it (I'm a romantic asexual) because seeing people in love or even just in lust is really sweet and cute and can help pick you up on a bad day.

To jump in and defend the aromantic asexuals, it's not necessarily a response from the victorian culture. Some aromantics have a revulsion to all sexuality, some find public displays alienating as it highlights one's rarity, and others find it incredibly foreign to one's experiences and thus agitating.

I don't think any would actively stop PDAs, but I can understand them wishing in an idealized world that they didn't exist and certainly not participating themselves.

But yeah, I think romantic asexuals are pretty similar to everyone else on the question.

Matt said...

I was typing a response to Queers United, but then read CrackerLilo's comment, and felt that it captures exactly how I feel.

Anonymous said...

I have always been affecionate in public. Not overly sexual but certainly holding hands, quick kiss, hand on the back. Unfortunately, my wife is very anti-demonstrative. She freaks out and yells at me for "throwing myself in people's faces" if I even think about touching her in public. What is really hurtful is she believes I am "trying to make a point" when I show affection. Not to her, because I love her, but to straight people who I could care less about. I find it very sad and distressing. She had a very hard coming out and has been scarred enormously by it so I try to be understanding. The pain of having to choose between being who I am and acting natural and resisting my natural responses of affection is really bad and totally messed up.

Grace said...

I am seventeen and my mom does not approve me of showing my sexuality in public. She believes that it should be a private and personal matter. Obviously I don't agree with her. I think that homosexuals and bisexuals have the right to show their affections in public; aka not caring what other people think. I think that it's a matter that she doesn't want the public to know that I'm a lesbian. She isn't homophobic or anything. She just thinks that it should only be in private. Why? I'm not ashamed of my sexuality. I am proud of who I am and I am not going to let my mom stop me. I just like to show my pride. Am I being selfish or is my mom being close minded? A little help please? I have this shirt that says, " All the cool girls are lesbians." And so my mom doesn't want me to wear it in public or anywhere except in my sleep. Oh and she thinks stuff like that is lame. I mean is it so lame to wear rainbow colors and being proud? I don't understand her sometimes. What do you think?

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