In the 1990s, when I was President of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia, I used to appear regularly at Republican events across the region (and in the District of Columbia). While I would identify our group as an organization of gay Republicans and would occasionally bring a date, getting one date’s permission in 1998 to introduce him to the then-Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (current father-in-law to W’s daughter) as my boyfriend.
Beyond that, I did little to advertise my sexuality. I found it best to let them know I was gay and show that I was otherwise just a regular Republican. I didn’t think it helped promote social acceptance of gay peopl by being “in your face” about it.
This is why I don’t have much truck with those who stage certain stunts into order to make a statement. On Saturday, in response to two gay men being arrested last month for kissing on property owned by the Church of the Latter Days Saints in downtown Salt Lake City (as well as similar incidents in Texas), gay groups across the nation organized kiss-ins in cities across the nation:
Twenty-two people, many of them strangers to one another, gathered under the scorching sun on Washington’s National Mall to participate in the national smooch. They were gay and straight, couples and singles of all ages, with placards that read “Equal Opportunity Kisser” and “A Kiss is a Not a Crime.”
Do you interpret this as I do? That some of the couples doing the public smooching included individuals who didn’t know one another? Hardly a public display of spontaneous affection that.
While the AP article dwells (and dwells and dwells) on how the arrests hurts the Mormon church’s image (despite the absence of evidence that the Texas arrests were linked to Mormons), I wonder how such stunts stymie the social advancement of gay people. People will wonder why we need so advertise our sexuality. (The media does seem obsessed with maligning Mormons.)
It’s one thing to walk hand in hand with the person you love. Or to in a moment of passion, kiss him, even if in a public place. But, a staged kiss-in does more harm than good.
If such folks really think such kiss-ins will improve our image, I suggest they try them in front of a mosque or church in the African-American community.
(Oh, and, in the article linked above, the AP reporter leads off with an error by saying Prop 8 “banned gay marriage in California.” It did no such thing; it merely prevented the state from recognizing it.)