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Being Gay and Married in Public

Over the weekend, the weather turned delightful--one of the few benefits of global warming is that spring comes to Michigan in early March--and I persuaded Darwin to emerge from the cave of our home office to go on a walk down a local nature trail.

Because the day was nice, a fair number of people were on the trail--bikers with their aerodynamic helmets, joggers in spandex, families with strollers, walkers with dogs.  Since I was out walking my husband, I naturally reached down to take his hand.  This was at a point in the trail when no one else was around, and we walked that way for a while.  Then we came around a bend and saw more people in the distance.  Darwin took his hand away from me, casually, in order to change his grip on the coffee container he was sipping from.

I looked at him.  "It's still weird, huh?"

"What's that?" he asked, looking straight ahead.

"You still feel weird holding my hand in public."

"Oh."  He drank from his coffee.  "Yeah, I guess so.  I'm not comfortable with displays in public, even from straight people."

"Holding hands isn't much of a 'display,' " I countered.

"I suppose," he conceded, "but after fifty years of having to hide, it's a hard habit to break."

"I know," I said.  "I sometimes feel weird about it, too.  Like someone's going to jump out of the bushes and shout, 'Ah ha! I knew it!' "


"But," I added, "we need to hold hands in public for two reasons.  The first is that you're my husband, and if I want to hold hands with you, I'm damn well going to hold hands with you.  The other is that we need to set an example."

"An example," he repeated slowly.

"Well, yeah.  How is everyone else going to get used to the idea of people like us getting married if they never see it?  It's too easy for them to pretend it only happens somewhere else.  We need to show them it's happening right here, right now.  Besides, who's going to bother us?  I'm six feet tall with a head shaved like a biker."

He laughed at that and took my hand.  We walked past a few knots of people, who ignored us just like you'd ignore anyone else.


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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2016 12:29 pm (UTC)
We walked past a few knots of people, who ignored us just like you'd ignore anyone else.

Yep, as it should be: that you're just another regular couple. If only this were always the case.
Mar. 16th, 2016 02:14 pm (UTC)
Right you are. There are definitely levels of PDA, and holding hands is probably the least overt of them all. Anyone who has a problem with any couple holding hands... well... has a problem.

BTW, I can't get over this one line you wrote: "Since I was out walking my husband,..." I hope you clean up after him, too. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
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