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Origins of a Blog

May 25, 2011

Two things today told me it was time to update. One was my rediscovery of an old passage I wrote while I was living in France almost exactly five years ago. Back then I was toying with the idea of being a writer and I kept a book of musings, and in retrospect one particular item was the start of this blog.

The other indicator I needed to update was meeting up with my friend K for lunch. She told me I was slacking, or more specifically, “You need to update already!”

And so I present to you, below, the first piece I ever wrote in what would become the tradition of Gay in Public.

7/08/06

It’s so strange to me that it’s almost funny; holding hands in public can be an act of defiance without your even realizing it. While I hold grandiose notions of reestablishing social norms, all I really want to do when I’m walking down the street is to touch the man I love. I understand how public displays of affection might make people uncomfortable, but I honestly and truly do not see what makes ours so threatening or even interesting. Reactions to us fall so neatly into very distinct categories— admirers, detractors, gaze-avoiders, and deer caught in headlights. People are lucky I have a sense of humor and that I’m not one of those people who backs into the guy tailgating him.

I have no great philosophical point to put forward. I just wanted to reflect on how bizarre it is to be thought weird for doing something that feels more natural than I imagined anything ever could. While I’m an expert at finding flaws in myself, I’ve never been one to abuse other people, but it seems to me that some people turn the irrational judgment I use on myself on their peers, even complete strangers. Why is that? I suppose one’s hatred of oneself might drive a need to find something else to hate more. I can’t believe that people could learn hatred from their upbringing and simply never question it, but then, they say that people will always surprise you. I guess that’s what I hate—complacent ignorance, unexamined beliefs.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Les permalink
    May 27, 2011 3:11 pm

    Of the few times I’ve held hands with another guy while walking on the street, I’ve felt very much under a spotlight, on the defensive, ready to preserve and protect myself and my hand-holding partner. Having once been married to a woman, I know the difference of being a mixed-sex couple holding hands in public, where, in most instances, it’s not even noticed or at most draws a smile. I’ve drawn smiles when holding my male partner’s hand, but had a full range of negative reactions as well, including shouted slurs. I dislike the self-consciousness, the internalized homophobia, and ultimately the fear that I allow others to instill in me. AS you ask, why is a simple act of shared affection such a threat, or even of interest? As far as I can tell, the ones it bothers most are the ones most unhappy with their own lives. That seems to be true of any prejudice, so perhaps the problem isn’t the prejudice but the underlying unhappiness (and the causes thereof)?

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