Strategic In Public Displays of Sexuality

I read a story that a friend brought to my attention titled, “Why ‘coming out’ Matters.” The full text of the story is here.

There was a section in that story that caught my attention. It read,

Straight people announce their sexuality all day every day. It happens when they canoodle in the park, walk hand in hand through the mall, place loved ones’ pictures on the desk. These are small joys and we don’t think of them as announcements of sexuality, but they are. If you are gay, you don’t do such things. Or, you do them strategically, thoughtfully, picking and choosing where and when it is safe to canoodle, hold hands, set out the pictures.

How have I made those strategic decisions?

I agree with this concern. I am definitely strategic about where and when I canoodle with my spouse. He is a private man anyway, so he has always been reticent to hold hands or let me embrace him in public, much less any form of canoodling. He and I are careful about PDAs — public displays of affection — for reasons that the article I read entail. We never quite know if someone will react to seeing affection between two men in a way that might incite negativity such as name-calling or throwing a punch (or worse.)

Fall2010I do have a nice photo of my partner and me in our back yard on my desk at work. You have seen it before (here). Everyone at work knows I am married to my man. No big deal. But I refrain from having our picture printed on a patch and having the patch sewn to a vest I might wear when I ride my Harley. Yep… there are limits (giggle.)

I have often noticed how straight couples behave in public, and silently have sighed and said to myself, “I wish I could do that too.” But I don’t. The top reason, though, is not for fear of reprisal or inciting anger among others, but because my spouse is uncomfortable with PDAs.

It is, however, rather obvious to the casual viewer of our public behavior that we are more than just acquaintances or friends. The depth of what we talk about and how we interact with casualness, smiles, gestures, and comfort makes it easy to discern quickly that we are very, very close.

Personally, on an aside, I do not mind restricting PDAs with my spouse — in fact, I would prefer that heterosexual couples do the same. If you want to noogie with your opposite-sex partner, mate, or spouse — do it behind closed doors! I don’t want to see you neckin’!

Anyway, it was a sad but interesting read that my friend brought to my attention (he may not be aware that I read almost everything that he posts on Facebook.) For those of us who are gay and have a mate, partner, or spouse, we are usually restricted in what we do to display our affection toward one another.

Life is short: show those you love how you love them, but in less public settings.