A kiss is still just a kiss
by Kelvin Wade
Southwest Airlines says it was profanity that got “The L Word” actress Leisha Hailey and her girlfriend kicked off a flight from El Paso to Los Angeles. After sharing what they described as a “modest kiss” several passengers complained to flight attendants. Hailey and her girlfriend were “reprimanded” in the words of the airline and reminded that Southwest was a “family airline.” Southwest says the kiss was “excessive.” Hailey and her girlfriend acknowledged they responded with anger.
Who wouldn’t? And would Southwest have done this with a heterosexual couple? I’m guessing no, because there most likely would’ve never been complaints if a heterosexual couple kissed in public.
And what does a “family airline” even mean? Gay people have families. And gay couples kiss in front of their kids. I kiss my girlfriend in front of our grandkids.
What is an excessive kiss? Five seconds? Thirty? Is French kissing excessive? Are excessive kisses for heterosexuals of the same duration as for homosexuals? If the two women were feeling each other up in public, I agree: that’s inappropriate behavior in public. (But dang hot!)
I wasn’t there, and though Hailey says she has audio and video of the confrontation, it hasn’t been released as of this writing. But do we, as a society, react differently to homosexual kissing vs. heterosexual kissing in public?
In July of this year, a lesbian couple was asked to leave the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco because they were holding hands. Jonathan Williams and James Bull found themselves making international news when they were kicked out of a Soho pub in London for kissing. In 2009, a gay couple in Utah was issued a citation for kissing near an LDS temple.
If you go online you’ll find story after story of gay couples asked to stop engaging in “inappropriate behavior” and being kicked off buses, out of clubs and harassed on the street. I couldn’t imagine being worried that kissing my girlfriend was going to cause an incident.
Years ago I was in a public park after hours making out with my then-girlfriend. We weren’t undressed or anything. Just a young couple in love. A cop walked up with a flashlight and told us that the park was closed and we had to leave. He was grinning. He went back to his patrol car and left, and so did we.
I’ve always wondered — would a gay couple have been extended the same courtesy? Would the officer have been grinning? Would he have told them to leave or would he have cited them for “cruising” the park?
I’ve kissed my girlfriend in public many times and have never had anyone tell me it was inappropriate or kick us out of anywhere. The most a heterosexual couple is going to hear is someone playfully say, “Get a room!”
But let’s face the fact that gays kissing gives some people the creeps. And because they’re offendedm they feel they have the right to stop gays from showing affection in public. There are many adults who don’t want their children to see gay people kissing because they don’t want to have to explain the situation to them.
I’m not saying people have to embrace gays kissing, but they do have to understand that in 2011, that’s the reality. It’s no crime to show affection no matter what your orientation.
Look, there are things in society I don’t like having to deal with. I don’t like when people smoke at the entrances to buildings and I have to walk through it. I don’t like it when people hold loud conversations on their cell phones. I hate that crappy food is so cheap and widely available. I hate right wing bloviators spreading nonsense over the airwaves. I hate the fact that I’m not going on a cruise this year. I think iPads are too expensive. I don’t like people sagging their pants down so I can see their underwear. By the same token, I don’t want to be able to see anyone’s butt crack when they bend over. I don’t like cell phone handset laws while driving. I hate when people pick their nose at a stoplight like they’re invisible. I don’t like seeing the air I’m breathing. I think there are too many singing competitions on TV. And I absolutely hate being the low man on the totem pole in an empire slouching towards irrelevance, run by an oligarchy of bankers and corporate interests, who are going to find that when I realize I have no more money to pay for anything to eat, I’ll have no choice but to eat the rich.
But I suck it up and deal.
There are worse things than two people showing affection in public.
If gay kissing on a plane offends you so much, pick up the Sky Mall catalog and bury your nose in it instead of burying your nose in someone else’s business.