More than once in the very recent past I’ve seen an online comment featuring some variation of the “I don’t care what people do in their private life as long as they’re not all up in my grill with it” sentiment. In other words, “I don’t care if you’re gay, as long as you’re not all gay about it.”
Just today I was told, “You want to talk about the gay stuff be gay don’t flaunt it.” Despite the lack of punctuation, I understand what he’s saying. And I also don’t. I can see how some people would consider our Pride Parades flaunting it. I mean, some of the entries can be fairly outrageous and might be shocking to the heteronormative community. And perhaps two fellows dressed in assless chaps and short-shorts making out in the Home Goods section of the Boise, ID Wal-Mart would also be seen as flaunting it.
But outside of extremes (I mean, you don’t don a rainbow banana-hammock and a pair of Doc Martens and go marching down Santa Monica Blvd. because you’re trying to remain incognito), what exactly is “flaunting it?”
I’m middle-aged with shoulder-length hair; I do wear make-up and I don’t wear Docs, cargo shorts or flannel. I look like a PTA mom and your gaydar would have to be pretty sensitive to pick me out of a crowd. So, am I one of the “acceptable” ones because I don’t make people uncomfortable with my obvious gayness? Is flaunting it simply having short hair and wearing boy shorts?
What about when I say that I’m a lesbian? Is that flaunting it? Is hearing someone identify as gay or lesbian too much for some people to bear?
I don’t even have to ask if holding hands with a same-sex partner in public is flaunting it. That goes without saying. After all, think about the children! They might see that, and it could put thoughts in their precious little heads. Why it could turn them gay! Or, worse yet, it might prompt them to ask questions their parents are just way too uncomfortable and uninformed to answer.
Kissing in public is, of course, definitely verboten. No one wants to see two men kissing. That’s just icky. Now if it’s two women, it might be okay. But only if they’re hot. And not really lesbians. Just girls who are doing it to show off for bar bros.
Oh, and putting pictures of your same-sex partner or your wedding photos on your desk at work is probably frowned upon, as well. That probably just makes everyone uncomfortable. I mean, it’s like you’re totally announcing to the whole office that you’re gay. So, obviously, flaunting it.
And what about all the TV shows and commercials and print ads featuring same-sex couples now. Do we really need that? It’s not enough to have to see it in real life, now it’s being shoved down everyone’s throats by the media? What happened to nice, wholesome families that everyone can relate to? It’s probably all those gay Hollywood-types just flaunting it …
So if I’m not mistaken — and someone please correct me if I am — aside from the month of June when we do tend to go a bit mad, what is considered “flaunting it” by gays and lesbians, is just everyday life for straight people.
Whereas one might look at a cargo-shorts wearing, short-haired woman and judge her to be a lesbian, or even wonder why she has to walk around “looking like that,” no one sees a man in Dockers and a Polo shirt and thinks, “That guy is so straight!”
Straight couples hold hands in public, they kiss in public. And no one points, or stares, or makes “yucky” faces. No one threatens to kick their asses, or actually kicks their asses for their public displays of affection. They’re free to flaunt their love for all to see.
Heterosexuals not only display pictures of their partners and families, they don’t shut up about them. Mondays are full of stories about what “my husband and I” did, or where “I went with my wife.” No one thinks twice about discussing their partner, and everyone gets to use the correct pronoun. No “they” or “them” when talking about a straight partner for fear of outing oneself. Straight people are always flaunting their straightness.
And depending on when you grew up, all you ever saw in the media was wholesome families flaunting their wholesome heterosexuality. You couldn’t get away from it. So rare was gay representation, it was easy to feel like you were the only one who was different. Certainly, no one on TV was.
We’ve been dealing with straight people flaunting their heterosexuality for our whole lives. And do we complain? No. Do we go to the management and try to get them kicked out? No. Do we make little “tsk tsk” noises when we walk by? No.
It’s time to give us a break. We’re not flaunting it. We’re simply exhibiting the same behavior that they do. So, they need to get used to it, because what they really want, for us to go back in the closet, isn’t going to happen. We’re out and we’re living our best lives, and if that offends anyone, they can just look away.