I started dating someone recently. The first guy since Brig really. I mean, I've been on dates and I've had a couple almost-relationships, but never full-blown relationship. I don't think I was able to let go until recently.
Anyway, a couple weekends ago was PRIDE here in Salt Lake. I didn't really join in any of the festivities. Instead Sean and I went out for a quiet night. It was one of the first relatively warm nights and we were downtown getting a bite to eat. We had to park several blocks from the restaurant we ate at, so it was a nice walk. Typically I don't engage in any kind of PDA because I don't like to make people feel uncomfortable, but on our walk back to the car all the couples were out holding hands and it was such a nice night and I really wanted to hold hands. Every couple we saw were holding hands- no joke.
So initially I just gave his hand a squeeze and thanked him for a nice dinner, but it was apparent he wanted to hold my hand too, so we did. I wish straight people could understand what it is like. I imagine it is somewhat similar to what it felt like for Rosa Parks to sit in the front of the bus. You kind of hold your breath, knowing that you will be punished, but hoping you won't. Well we got punished.
Stares and double-takes don't get to me too much. I guess I kind of accept it as a fair trade. If I want to hold hands, I have to put up with the staring. But we had an SUV full of guys pointing, laughing and yelling at us. "EWW- THEY'RE GAY! DUDE, LOOK!" "GAY!" "BAHAHAHA!" It kind of ruins the nice relaxing summer night. And even though we continued holding hands, the truth is, I couldn't help but feel ashamed and hurt. I felt like I wanted to go and hide. You'd think those feelings would go away, that I would just be used to it, but they don't. I think we all get good at masking the hurt, but the pain is still real.
I yearn for the day when all people see is couples enjoying a warm summer's night instead of the two guys holding hands. I hope I live to see it.