Same Sex Couples Are Not Offensive. Your Sexualization of Them Is.
This month, the BBC aired an episode of their ballroom dance show, Strictly Come Dancing, in which a routine was performed by a same-sex couple. Once again, people lost their minds. Though there was solid support for the show in making this move, it confounds me that there would still be backlash and complaints. Are we really still these people? Have we nothing better to do?
This isn’t just a gay issue. Though I’m addressing this in context of response to two men, this issue extends to anyone who considers themselves outside of the box of just plain straight. Good looking straight people should not be the only humans allowed to roam the earth publicly being a couple.
But, I find homophobic responses to seeing same sex couples most curious. I like to ask questions of intolerant people just to see how they can possibly justify their hatred. I genuinely want to understand their thought process. I also genuinely want to shoot holes it.
When you force people to speak hate’s name, it makes them really squirmy, especially when their intolerance is not even remotely steeped in logic.
Many conversations I have had with homophobes about why they find same sex couples offensive ends similarly: they are “grossed out” by gay couples. Interesting.
Now, we all know that when this comes out of the mouths of men what they are most likely talking about is gay couples that are men. These same guys will pay $9.99 a month for full view access of alleged lesbians. Homosexuality or bisexuality goes from gross to hot real fast then.
When pressed for more info, they disclose that the thought of two men having sex is weird and that when they see a gay couple, they don’t want to think about them having sex. “Because that’s gross.” Interesting.
Not wanting to see gay couples has frequently been excused and waved away with false tolerance. Countless times, I’ve heard, “I don’t care what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedroom, I just don’t want to see it.”
But, hold on... We’re watching a couple do a ballroom dance. They’re not having sex. Herein lies the issue. Being LGBTQ isn’t about sex any more than being straight is about sex. When you focus on couples in regard to bedroom activity only, you have now chosen to sexualize them. In reading comments about the BBC show, I feel like I can firmly say this happened.
Focusing solely on sexual activity as your means of determining how you feel about homosexuality is freaking weird. Really freaking weird. Let me put it in the context of heterosexuality and show you how this is kind of gross and creepy.
Say I have a boyfriend and we very much love each other. I introduce you to my boyfriend in a public setting. If your first and immediate inclination is to picture us having sex and use that to determine how you feel about us and whether it’s acceptable for us to exist as a couple or not, you are way creepy. Period. End of story.
Likewise, I can’t imagine that if I kissed that same boyfriend or held his hand or put my arms around him in public that people all around us would conjure some tawdry image of us mid-coitus. That would be strange.
No one does this to straight people! No one jumps to the sexualization of straight relationship so why the hell would we do this to gay couples?
Suffice to say, if you can’t see couples and not picture them having sex, I think you have some issues that are far deeper seeded than one might think.
When TV shows or movies or commercials show gay couples being couples, it’s not to test your reaction. This is not the romantic version of the old commercial where they would switch the fancy restaurant coffee to Folger’s Crystals.
“We’ve switched this heterosexual dancing couple with a homosexual one! Let’s see if anyone notices!”
I have a sneaking suspicion that what makes people uncomfortable about seeing gay couples is that it brings all that hatred and prejudice and intolerance to the surface. That can’t make anyone feel good because hate is not joyful. Images of gay couples isn’t throwing homosexuality in anyone’s face, it’s throwing their homophobia in their face.
What people who sexualize the idea of being gay need to understand is this: One’s sexual orientation does not exist solely in the bedroom. It lives everywhere. It’s about love. It’s about having a partner. It about feeling cared for and wanted and appreciated and adored and every other positive emotion that every heterosexual couple has the privilege of feeling every day without the scrutiny of anyone else’s judgment.
Society is under no obligation to make anyone feel comfortable about whether someone else’s relationship exists or not.