Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Making Out on Flight 45

According to The New Yorker, a gay couple who had the nerve to rest their heads on each other's shoulders and give each other the occasional kiss while on a transatlantic flight, were told to stop their lascivious behavior by the American Airlines crew. And then were told by the pilot to stop harrassing the crew when they and other passengers had the audacity to question whether the request was because the passengers being loving toward each other were homosexual.

The problem with writing about these things, is that I see the world through a lens that doesn't view being queer as being wrong. I read this article, and I think, "This is why A---- and I aren't openly affectionate in many public places." I read it and think that it's an illustration of how gays and lesbians are second class citizens ('you can ride the bus, but you have to sit in the back' doesn't sound all that different from, 'you can fly with your significant other, but you can't touch' to me). I am unsure of how to frame it in such a way that perhaps begins to color the lens through which others might begin to see the world in the same way I do - at least as far as being okay with homosexuality is concerned.

How about this: If you're straight, and especially if you don't think homosexuality is okay, humor me and try this little exercise. The next time you're out with your significant other (this exercise does require you to have one), each time you reach to hold hands, remind yourself you cannot. Ditto for when you decide to give each other a little peck. Definitely avoid making out. Try not to make doe eyes at each other, or say "I love you" out loud. Imagine that the world sees your relationship as toxic, and that you have to hide it from everyone. Let me know how this feels.

I have been asked not to be out at a wedding where I was the maid of honor, and A---- was my invited guest. I was unable to hold A---- at the funeral of her brother, even as she sat next to me in the church pew and sobbed, because the stigma felt too great to both of us to take on at such a vulnerable moment. In these big ways, and in so many small ways, our relationship is often kept under the radar, even given how openly we are able to live our lives. And each time, it hurts me, saddens me, and reminds me that I am not always welcome in my own homeland.


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