You should have seen her face.
You should have seen her face when I leaned in for that kiss. Panic. Fear. Involuntarily, her whole body shifted as far away from mine as she could get within the confines of the tiny red car that she drives. She didn’t say anything at first, but her actions spoke loud and clear: no no no no no. And then after that? A curt and nervous: “Yeah, ok, bye.”
My heart dropped, and my face flooded with embarrassment. In that moment, I felt like the little boy on the playground, chasing the little girl and seeking out an ill-advised first kiss. Except, in this scenario, I’m not a little boy. I’m another little girl, and that makes things a thousand times worse.
“It’s the PDA. It’s the uniform.”
I tell you. I can actually smell the bullshit from here.
Because if I were her husband, or she mine, and we were living in some hunky-dory heteronormative fantasyland, this would have never been an issue. But I’m not, and we aren’t, and despite living in a newly post-DOMA country, in a marriage equality state, it is still not “ok” for me to kiss my girlfriend of nearly a year goodbye. In front of exactly zero other souls. Apparently it is ok, though, to treat the woman you love as if she’s some sort of leper. Unintentionally or not.
While there is a part of me that rages at her, the more sound, logical part of my brain realizes: this is not her fault. After all, she lived a military life long before DADT was repealed, and a hell of a lot longer before the recent DOMA ruling. She lived a life that she had to keep hidden, lest she lose everything she worked so hard to achieve. Old habits, and all that. And even now, in this newly emerging country, I’m willing to bet my entire left leg that there are some dirty scoundrels working in the higher-ranks that would no sooner toss her (and others like her) out for “one reason or another”: just because’s she’s gay. It’d all be a matter of convenience. The military is wrapped so tightly in tradition, I can understand her fear. But I can’t understand how continuing to keep things hush-hush is going to change a damn thing.
Some of you are rolling your eyes at me. “It’s just a kiss” you say. “There are more important things.” Well, sure, asshole, there are more important things, like world peace, and equality, and liberty and justice for all. And while my (lack of a) kiss on a military base can’t even hold a candle to the fights and struggles of other military couples like Ashley Broadway and her wife Heather Mack, it’s what I have to offer right now to our fight for equality. (Seriously, if you just crawled out of your hole and don’t know who she is, read her story. That woman is incredible, and is one of my modern day heroes.) If you still think that this is so simple, the point that you’re missing is that this fear of “just a kiss” has derived from something a hell of a lot more evil. It’s bigger then “just a kiss”, and if you would get your heads out of your asses, you’d realize that.
It’s about showing everyone that this “new normal” is not new at all. We’ve always been here. Now, we can just show it more freely without being (as) afraid of losing our jobs or our lives. It’s about showing the people who are against us that: A) We are just like them, and B)We are not going away.
I refuse to “tone it down” or hide who I am for someone else’s comfort. I’m not streaking in the streets–I’m kissing my fucking girlfriend goodbye before she leaves for a long workday. I’m holding her hand as we walk through a city park. I’m buying groceries, and taking them home, and cooking her dinner–just like everyone else. I have never, ever felt shame about my sexuality. I have never felt fear of showing who I am. Who knows. Maybe it’s just my personality. Maybe I don’t give two fucks. (Scratch that, I definitely don’t give two fucks.) And here’s a newsflash to you, (Far-Righties and religious zealots especially) I NEVER WILL. I know that I’m lucky to even have the option to be as outspoken and aggressive as I am. Many LGBT community members live in places where it is downright dangerous to even resemble “gay”. And because of that, it is even more important that I keep fighting: for myself, and for those who can’t. It’s because of people like Ashley Broadway, and Edie Windsor, and even the little voices like me, that one day, we will be equal. This is the new normal, and it is here to stay.
(You know, I never did get my kiss this morning. I, in my signature hot-headed Italian way, walked off in a fury. But my love gets done work in ten minutes, so we’ll see. I’ll admit: I’m taking a chance publishing this post. It has massive potential to land me right in the doghouse. I could be sleeping on the proverbial couch for a while. Oooor….she could wise up, and I might finally get that kiss. 😉 )