The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade televised its first same-sex kiss in a musical performance by the cast of Broadway’s new musical “The Prom” on Thursday Nov. 22. This was a major win for the LGBTQ+ community, giving same-sex couples adequate representation on an extremely wide platform.
Unsurprisingly, many conservatives were upset by the kiss and instead of taking it for the innocent display of affection it was, some took the opportunity to demonize the LGBTQ+ community. In order to shut down these discriminatory remarks, there needs to be more explicit LGBTQ+ representation in public displays of affection.
“Millions of small children just watched two girls kiss and had their innocence broken this morning. @nbc and @Macys just blindsided parents who expected this to be a family program, so they could push their agenda on little kids. #macysthanksgivingdayparade #MacysDayParade,” the conservative group For America tweeted.
Claiming that a same-sex kiss ruins the “innocence” of children implies that there is something wrong with it, that it is deviant. In reality, a kiss is a kiss. If parents have an issue with their children witnessing simple PDA, they’ve got bigger problems on their hands.
Objections to the kiss are clearly homophobic in nature but putting that aside to give protestors the benefit of the doubt, LGBTQ+ displays of affection should be normalized in society. If the media normalizes PDA for LGBTQ+ couples, viewers would likely be more accepting.
Television shows such as “Will & Grace,” “Modern Family” and “Grey’s Anatomy” have worked determinedly over the last couple decades to provide positive representation for LGBTQ+ individuals. Nevertheless, as important as the characters of these shows are, something appears to be lost when PDA is rooted in fiction rather than between real people.
For example, at the 2014 Grammy Awards, Queen Latifah married dozens of same-sex couples on stage, a display that should have bridged the gap and shown audiences the perfectly normal reality of same-sex PDA. CBS’s cameras, however, “conspicuously cut away from the same-sex kisses,” according to The Daily Beast.
By refusing to show same-sex PDA, CBS implied that it is something that has to be hidden, which furthers the false narrative that there is something deviant about homosexuality. It’s a viscous cycle.
“It would be almost impossible for anyone—adult or child—to go a full day without seeing an opposite-sex kiss whether in person, on a billboard, in a show, at a bar, or in one’s home,” The Daily Beast argued. “It would be as futile as it is irrational to oppose opposite-sex PDA. It’s everywhere. Maybe now is a good time for same-sex PDA to become just as ubiquitous.”
It’s not just the homophobes and “old-fashioned” folks who need to look inward and find acceptance for same-sex PDA. Even some of the community’s biggest supporters are guilty of being uncomfortable by same-sex affection.
People often claim they support LGBTQ+ rights but turn around and say something about same-sex couples “shoving it in our faces.” These same people have no problem when straight couples engage in PDA. There is an implicit double-standard and it needs to end.
We can write all the fictional LGBTQ+ characters we want or highlight same-sex PDA on live television, but until all of us dig deep and recognize a kiss is just a kiss no matter who it’s between, the LGBTQ+ community will never be fully embraced.