I know this is a particular bug bear of at least one of my readers, but it’s starting to play into something I’m seeing a lot of right now too. We seem to be at a particular juncture in the progress of acceptance where those of you who do not have a problem with LGBTQ people are assuming that everyone else in the world is just like you, and similarly unbothered.
This is pretty dangerous.
When I tell my straight friends that I don’t feel comfortable kissing my wife in a restaurant or not-gay-specific-bar, they say, “Who cares what other people think? Just do it anyway.” and I say, “I care what they think. Because there exists the possibility they’ll be so upset by it that my wife or I or both of us could pay the consequences in a very physical way.” And then I’m accused of being over dramatic.
I’m not. The statistics don’t lie. Nor does my life experience. Nor do the random sideways sneers I get just walking around town, looking queer. There are still an awful lot of assholes who have a bone to pick with me, and I don’t want to be nearby when they decide to do it. It may not be right and it may not be convenient but it’s reality.
So, to bring this back to Glee, affection for Kurt and Blaine is going to be different than it is for other couples. For myself and my wife, we’ve even been accused of not being in love because we don’t touch each other enough. The thing is, we touch each other all the time. We just know that it’s not a great idea in public. It’s not even that we haven’t been reckless in the past, and may be again, but when we do that, it is just that: reckless.
For gay teens, the problem is heightened because typically, parents aren’t happy about their teenagers making out in front of them. While straight kids will find private-ish public places, those places are simply unsafe for gay kids. If home isn’t an option, then they’re shit out of luck. In fanfiction, a lot of writers address this particular problem very well, and I would hope the Glee writers will succeed half as well.
So to close, it’s wonderful that you’re so awesome about us being gay, and being physically affectionate around you. It really is, and we appreciate that. What we don’t appreciate is how you dismiss our experiences and fears because they aren’t about you and because you’ve never had to worry about it.
And more and more, we — as a community — are getting more comfortable being affectionate in public. There are more safe spaces because there are more and more allies. But not everywhere is safe, and a lot of safe spaces aren’t as safe as they could be. Everyone has to decide their own comfort levels and that should be respected, not followed by cajoling and ridicule or dismissed as paranoia.