Do you have to do it in front of my kids?
April 11, 2018 9:07 AM   Subscribe

 
Oh, that was delightful! I was braced for some horrific rant and was only going to watch a short bit and was pleasantly surprised. It took me probably the first whole minute to figure out that it wasn't live footage, and a bit longer to realize it was a poem.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:16 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Well, I can't make a quip about someone cutting onions because onions don't make me cry.
posted by loquacious at 9:23 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


That was an excellent poem well delivered.
posted by dazed_one at 9:25 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Thank God for subtitles.

This said, I always find it ironic when people say things like, "Do you have to flaunt it?" or, "Whatever you do in the privacy of your own home is fine, but not in public." I will admit to being uncomfortable with PDA, of pretty much any kind, but I at least know this is my damage. But being uncomfortable with two people kissing makes me hyper-aware of exactly who is more likely to be the one's doing it, and it's not the gay guys (or women).
posted by cjorgensen at 9:31 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


One thing I've learned from friends of mine who are racial minorities is how they constantly, always feel like being an outsider. Unless they're in their safe community in which case they feel safe and it's such a change. Women friends too, constant pressure of unwelcome attention from men and misogyny. This video captures my version of that, being gay, and it never really goes away.
posted by Nelson at 9:40 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


That was sad and lovely (although I am also quite pleased at the subs - My Scot heritage doesn't magically enable me to fathom the accents). And the only real PDA that bothers me at all is the sort that goes beyond PDA to exhibtionism, no matter who does it. So, other than sheer jealously at having no one to kiss goodbye myself currently or sneak a hug from, hug and kiss goodbye all you want, people.

Even if it is just for five minutes.
posted by Samizdata at 9:41 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


I wish everyone knew the feeling of having to modulate your behavior everywhere you go. It's a weight that never goes away - if I kiss him goodbye will I be endangered by the people around me? Is this place liberal enough or do I need to hide to protect us both? I still ask myself those things every damn time. I wish I didn't have to.
posted by azuresunday at 9:54 AM on April 11 [34 favorites]


And now, when I kiss my husband goodbye at the restaurant where we're meeting for dinner because I'm off to choir practice, my mind will be full of that video.
posted by filthy_prescriptivist at 10:00 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


As a bisexual person (tm), the difference between being in public with an opposite-sex partner versus a same- or different-but-not-opposite-sex partner is like suddenly being in the Upside Down.
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 10:00 AM on April 11 [33 favorites]


Impressive piece of work - thank you for posting.
But one thing is driving me nuts - which park is that?
posted by speug at 10:27 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


> fast ein Maedchen:
"As a bisexual person (tm), the difference between being in public with an opposite-sex partner versus a same- or different-but-not-opposite-sex partner is like suddenly being in the Upside Down."

Hell yes.
posted by Samizdata at 10:42 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


> azuresunday:
"I wish everyone knew the feeling of having to modulate your behavior everywhere you go. It's a weight that never goes away - if I kiss him goodbye will I be endangered by the people around me? Is this place liberal enough or do I need to hide to protect us both? I still ask myself those things every damn time. I wish I didn't have to."

We all do. We all dream of a better place where love is love.
posted by Samizdata at 10:44 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Thank you. Good day for this over here.
posted by parki at 10:45 AM on April 11


As a bisexual person (tm), the difference between being in public with an opposite-sex partner versus a same- or different-but-not-opposite-sex partner is like suddenly being in the Upside Down.

Hell, just the fact of having a same-sex partner, even though I couldn't actually be with him for months, colored all my experiences of seeing hetero couples in public.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:48 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


It's super trippy to go from being seen as a straight woman to living as a gay man. I'm still not used to modulating my behavior and I often forget that I'm "not supposed to" hold hands with a guy or be overly affectionate with guy friends. I went on a date and my instinct was to kiss him when we parted ways on the sidewalk. My heart sank when I realized I no longer could do something that had once been so natural and unconscious without outing both of us and risking our safety.
posted by AFABulous at 11:42 AM on April 11 [23 favorites]


#hardsame AFABulous, except of course I'm in the other direction.

You know what totally fucks with me? When my wife and I part at the gym and I want to give her a kiss goodbye. Or when I'm walking down the street holding hands. Or when this, or when that or when all of it always.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:49 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


But one thing is driving me nuts - which park is that?

Kelvingrove maybe?
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:50 AM on April 11


normality is a crowd sourced fantasy

Quoted for truth.
posted by bilabial at 12:00 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


For years, I wouldn't kiss my now-wife on the sidewalk outside our house. I would on the sidewalk in other parts of this city, where things were more explicitly welcoming - near the queer coffeeshops full of young folks with laptops, places closer to the colleges around here, etc. I lived in an older, less open part of the city - it's since gotten less so partly because the world has become less so, and now I'll give her a goodbye kiss without thinking anything of it. But back when MA was running a referendum on whether gay marriage should be the law of the land, I looked up contributors to the 'no marriage for you' side, and it included people who lived on my street.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:31 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


I was the first woman that my girlfriend dated. We avoided holding hands in public for the first year that we were together. Kissing each other in public was too much for us. On June 21, 2014, I took her to the local county fair. In the evening, we rode on the ferris wheel and at the very top she glanced around to make sure none of the other people in the booths were in our sightline, and then she kissed me. When we got off the ride, I followed her as we left the crowded fairgrounds. To my surprise, she took my hand and led me as we left. I have this one still image in my memory, of her hand in my hand, my shoes treading on the dusty ground, the bright white of lamps, and of the people around us. I was giddy and she was giddy and thanks to that and the blanket of nighttime we didn’t care who saw us.

It was absolutely amazing for me to get to experience what (in my mind) is a very conventional heterosexual date experience. I am fortunate to live somewhere where it is socially acceptable to be gay, even if I still go through bouts of calculation when I am with my girlfriend in public. I hope that sometime in the next decade, violence and harassment towards people because of their sexual orientation ends.
posted by Iron Carbide at 12:45 PM on April 11 [22 favorites]


I came out as a lesbian in 1981 and shortly there after was radicalized by Pat Parker's poem titled "For the straight folks who don't mind gays but wish they weren't so blatant."

It ends, "Fact is, blatant heterosexuals are all over the place. Supermarkets, movies, at work, in church, in books, on television, every day and night, every place -- even in gay bars. And they want gay men and women to go hide in the closets. So, to you straight folks, I say -- sure, I'll go. If you go too. But, I'm polite -- so after you."

In the late 80's I ran a module in a diversity training class of a large high-tech corporation. I asked the participants to pair up and talk about what they did with their partner/spouse over the weekend without disclosing the sex of their partner. Some flat out refused, but most of the ones who participated were extremely surprised at how difficult it was to do that.

I think that many straight people have no idea how much they flaunt their heterosexuality.
posted by elmay at 12:57 PM on April 11 [38 favorites]


I love this.

My personal story is that I never assessed my sexuality until several years ago when my partner came out as trans. He's transitioned and is passing as male so now we look gay in public. The fear of disapproval is mixed and mingled with my joy for him passing. Complicated feelings.

A combination of my privileged and my thick-headedness makes me feel like I don't have much difficulty with discrimination. And I don't know what it was like for the people who came before me. it's important to me to connect with the past, and fight for the future.
posted by rebent at 1:08 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


I think that many straight people have no idea how much they flaunt their heterosexuality.

The other side of the coin from straight people not recognizing straight privilege is their not realizing how many little ways LGBT people modify their behavior on a daily basis -- or hourly, or minute-to-minute, even. Be careful who you touch in public, and how, and be mindful of who's watching. Be careful how you refer to your partner, and be mindful of who's listening. Constrain your public hellos and goodbyes. Be careful how you present yourself, lest you offend someone who reacts to that offense with violence, either physical or verbal or metaphorical: Something less than a punch, maybe, but not nothing.

I started to relax a little bit about those things just in the past 5 or 10 years. But not all of it, and I've snapped back to attention since the election. (And I'm definitely, definitely still on high alert in the states where my family lives. Living in California is something I'm grateful for every damn day of my life.)
posted by mudpuppie at 1:10 PM on April 11 [10 favorites]


When I was fifteen I dated a college student I met in a Yahoo! chat room for Rhode Island lesbians (I am bi). We only met in person once but the thing I remember most is sitting on one of the benches in Waterplace Park cuddling while an older lesbian couple walked by and smiled, then a little later walked by again just so they could remark on how nice it was to see us out in public being affection together. I think it made them really happy. It meant a lot to me to be able to do that, make someone feel glad and hopeful, just by being me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:25 PM on April 11 [32 favorites]


That is lovely.
posted by mermayd at 1:36 PM on April 11


The other side of the coin from straight people not recognizing straight privilege is their not realizing how many little ways LGBT people modify their behavior on a daily basis

Can you imagine what the world would look like if the LGBTQIA population (please forgive me if that isn't the most current abbreviation; I think it is?) stopped modulating their presentation of self in public? I don't think straight people know even 1% of what the world is actually like, because everyone who isn't them works very hard to appear "acceptable" (and, therefore, less likely to come to harm) to straight people. And that's not even touching on white, Christian, male....

I'm a straight woman, and though I consider myself progressive, educated, and informed, I have no doubt I'd be completely fucking gobsmacked by the world if every LGBTQIA-identifying person, who works so hard to pass as "non-threatening to The Straights" in public, just stopped working at it. I can only imagine what the world would look like to people who don't think much about it.

And then add all of the rest of the marginalized people dropping their performative "acceptable to white/male/Christian/etc. people," ... the world would seem so foreign as to be another planet.

I mean, obviously this is a total fantasy for a lot of reasons, all of them awful. I just wish I could see it.

I also know that my wish to see it doesn't come anywhere close to others' wishes to live it.
posted by tzikeh at 2:24 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


elmay, I heard that poem on the radio some time in the mid-90s and that line about the tunnel of love stuck with me for a good two decades. I was about to go look it up and post it here, so thank you very much for that!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:14 PM on April 11


The other side of the coin from straight people not recognizing straight privilege is their not realizing how many little ways LGBT people modify their behavior on a daily basis -- or hourly, or minute-to-minute, even. Be careful who you touch in public, and how, and be mindful of who's watching. Be careful how you refer to your partner, and be mindful of who's listening. Constrain your public hellos and goodbyes. Be careful how you present yourself, lest you offend someone who reacts to that offense with violence, either physical or verbal or metaphorical: Something less than a punch, maybe, but not nothing.

And thinking about what you're signaling and to whom: am I reading as playing the pronoun game by casually using singular they to refer to my partner, who IDs nonbinary? am I presenting as slipping my relationship and my self under the radar, or am I flagging it as something closer to truth? if I snag the confusion of a cis straight person with a "they," what's the consequence, and even if it's enthusiastic desire to show off support, do I want to put up with that kind of performative support?

There's at least three ways I can be signaling depending on the clue level of the person I'm talking to, and it can be so much of a mess trying to work out exactly which flavor I'm communicating at any given time to whom. There's this whole network of communicatory signaling flying hard and fast, and cis straight people have no idea--but it's not always the same dialect between different communities under the acronym umbrellas, either, and that can be a complicated thing of its own.

There's a point of view that's missing from the poem, then: there's a world of difference between a straight person's enthusiastic grin and the quiet chin jerk from the dapper gentleman on the bus, the particular pleased crinkle of eyes from the woman on my walk to work when I've buzzed my hair again, the slouching, tow-headed tilt of recognition in the kid in the back, the lit eyes of the student on the edge of the room when I casually explain the distinction between sex and gender. The people who don't subtly tense, either with desire to avoid offense or else express it: no, it's the people who subtly relax whose gazes prick me from the background of this poem. There's a quiet kind of seeing each other that's totally unrelated to the straight, cis world except inasmuch as none of us fit inside it. For all that we don't always speak the same languages or the same community concepts, we all speak the lingua franca of hello, I see you and can you believe it?

There's something lovely about that, too.

(That said, it all simplifies down beautifully when I get asked that titular question, and all my nebulous confused need to communicate narrows down in an instant: a pulsing, beautifully directed and simple desire to stick my tongue in my partner's ear or mouth or face out of sheer, glorious living present spite.)
posted by sciatrix at 3:14 PM on April 11 [15 favorites]


As a bisexual person (tm), the difference between being in public with an opposite-sex partner versus a same- or different-but-not-opposite-sex partner is like suddenly being in the Upside Down.

I realized I'm bi after living for 20 years as a gay man, and I recently started dating women (or, rather, one very special woman in particular). I can't tell you the the relief I feel being out and about with her. We can hold hands without worrying about it! We can give each other a kiss when we see each other and when we part! We can cuddle up next to each other on a park bench or in a movie theater without watching our backs! I feel the relief bodily -- my shoulders and other parts of my body are so much less tense that it feels almost like I'm moving through a liquid.

And along with the joy and relief comes anger and guilt. I'd internalized that always-on-guard tension so much that I really never gave it a second conscious thought. Only when it was removed did I realize how noxious it really is, how much it had really been affecting me, and it makes me despise the heteronormative world with a renewed passion. And the guilt -- because when I'm out and about with her, I've become a mostly invisible part of that very world's fabric.
posted by treepour at 4:31 PM on April 11 [10 favorites]


I asked the participants to pair up and talk about what they did with their partner/spouse over the weekend without disclosing the sex of their partner.

This is a constant source of awkwardness whenever I meet someone new. I'll talk about (e.g.) trips I took with my ex and it's natural for me to use he/him pronouns when referring to him. The complication is that my ex is a straight man. He doesn't know that I transitioned, but as far as the person I'm talking to knows, we were in a gay relationship. So now I've outed us both with one pronoun. I try to be careful with this since we share a last name and work in the same field, but I'm inevitably going to disclose it, I can't erase a ten year relationship nor change the gender of my ex-partner. I did say "my ex-wife" once because it was expedient and I was never going to see that guy again, but it made me want to crawl out of my skin.
posted by AFABulous at 5:39 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Personally, my feeling that what you do in the streets should not scare the horses.

My horses are not afraid of kissing, cuddling, or umbrellas, whatever the sex or whether open or closed.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:32 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


A couple of jobs ago, I was a temp at a big biotech company that felt very liberal and open-minded to me (a cis-enough, straight-enough woman). My supervisor was "Dan": smart, articulate, reserved, quietly hilarious, solidly progressive, and gay. Yet even in this liberal environment he went to great lengths to conceal his orientation. (Ironically because I'm pretty crap at reading social clues, the sheer effort he put into it was the give-away.) I often sat next to Dan on the company bus and he seemed happy to chat, but I felt a little sad that he always kept his guard up so carefully. I liked him and kind of wished I could somehow let him know "relax, don't bother, your cover is blown", but he was my boss and besides, it's not my place to tell someone how to manage their public persona.

Anyway, after a few years of shared work and bus rides Dan started to reveal a little about his personal life, just through pronouns, and I felt really honored and touched that he'd decided he could trust me a little. (I still didn't say anything, though.) It must have been some relief for him too, not having to devote so much mental energy to phrasing everything with the exact amount of ambiguity required to preserve his privacy.

I think about Dan sometimes when I'm running some of the techniques he trained me on, when the hands are busy but the mind is free. I hope he's doing well in his career, and I also hope that some day he can feel he's safely among friends.
posted by Quietgal at 8:21 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


It must have been some relief for him too, not having to devote so much mental energy to phrasing everything with the exact amount of ambiguity required to preserve his privacy.

My stepdad asks me "why would you ever tell anyone at work that you're trans and/or gay?" and this is why. It's so stressful to hide parts of your life and your past.
posted by AFABulous at 8:41 PM on April 11


I'm out to pretty much everyone including at my work, but I don't spend much if any time discussing my life away from work with my coworkers. I talk about some things, but daily life, not at all. I only mention Jeff's name with it's cogent to what I need to communicate. None of them have indicated that they are particularly receptive to my sexuality but none of them have ever said anything against it either. It's just a general sort of attitude I can sense.

The one woman where I work is relaxed about it. The 9 or 10 guys I work with have never indicated any relaxed attitude about it.

As far as historical things go, in 1992 or thereabouts I and my partner at the time were kicked out of a restaurant for sitting across the table and touching hands during our rather expensive meal. The good part is we'd eaten most of it and didn't have to pay but still, that was not cool.

Also, I'm 50 and I came out in 1990 and I've been at this job for nearly 7 years and so.... Yeah, it never goes away.
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


But one thing is driving me nuts - which park is that?

Definitely Kelvingrove Park. It’s the path that comes in from the gate at Park Gardens.
posted by little apollo at 3:28 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Given how easily horses get scared by rando shit, I don't think that's a good metric. :D
posted by XtinaS at 6:18 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


I'm agender, polyamorous, and queer, and my spouse is nonbinary. I present as a cis monogamous lesbian at work. It's safe to be "out as a lesbian" in the workplace where I live (NYC). I wish I could talk about my actual real family in the workplace.
posted by XtinaS at 6:42 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


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