15 June 2011

PE: Holding Hands

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.


mohoguy said...

lovely. The day will come.

Keith said...

Sad day, man. I'm sorry the people there are so closed-minded. I have held hands with Conrad on several different occasions and only had one negative experience in all of that. It was at the Dallas temple which, in hindsight, we were probably flirting with disaster holding hands there in the first place.

I completely agree with you. I do hope that there comes a day when people will be allowed to hold hands and just be seen as a couple enjoying their time together. I take comfort in the fact that there are already certain communities where that is currently a reality. Sadly, I think certain other places (the Bible belt, Utah/Idaho) may take much, much longer.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind: those guys in the SUV are likely just as worried what people think as you are. In order to avoid being seen as "gay" themselves--a term that, to some, lessens your status in society--they instantly identified the threat, pounced on it, and reasserted their masculinity. Unfortunately, this was at the expense of you (and your friend's) happiness in that moment. Don't give in to the fear. Love and do what you will, and the rest of the world will follow. Hold hands. Hold hands for me, and everyone too afraid to do so. Hold hands for the closet cases who wish they could.

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