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The "Ick" Factor: In Your Face Edition

So I've been hearing a lot of this lately:
I support LGBT rights, but just don't put it in my face.
WTF is that supposed to mean? Putting it in your face? That makes it sound like I, we are going around trying to put on some kind of performance when in fact we are just going about our own lives. Is a Jew 'putting it in your face if he wears a Yamaka? Is a Latino 'putting it in your face' when they speak Spanish? John Lennon once said, "We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight." This is especially true for sexual minorities.

Our culture is completely tolerant of images of men committing horrible violence upon each other, yet so adverse to images of tenderness and intimacy.

As usual, Uncle George gets it right.

Much has been said about the moment when Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on national television, as they joyfully and spontaneously celebrated the news of Sam’s drafting by the Rams. They embraced and kissed just like many other happy heterosexual couples do when one of them receives life-changing, great news. 
Sadly, many commentators acted with revulsion. Newscasters in Dallas walked off the set in disgust. Conservatives blasted the networks for even airing that moment. And let’s face it, many people cringed in their living rooms. Even some gay people, unused to seeing such affection displayed, worried, perhaps rightfully so, about the backlash. 
This much is clear: The world simply is going to have to get used to seeing two men kissing. (The sight of two women kissing unsurprisingly seems to raise fewer hackles among heterosexual men.) The sanitized version of happy gay life shown on popular shows like Modern Family rarely venture into the passionate gay kiss. But it’s naive to believe happy gay couples don’t kiss each other regularly, just like happy straight couples do. To say you stand for equal rights but that you don’t want to ever see or hear about moments of our intimacy is to deny us again a fundamental aspect of our humanity–the expression of that very love. And guess what? Same-sex marriage ceremonies end in a kiss, so if you’re for marriage equality in principle, you’d best be prepared for some homosexual ritual smooching in practice.   
If you’re someone who finds yourself repulsed by the idea or the image of two men kissing, ask yourself why that is. Ask how someone else’s love, and how they publicly express it, actually affects your life and the enjoyment of your freedoms and liberty. The visceral negative reaction many experience comes down to what I call the “ick” factor–seeing or thinking about something to which we are unaccustomed, and reacting with an “ick.”  There are in fact lots of things in life that make people go “ick.” Broccoli, for example, is simply abhorrent to some. But “ick” is never a sound basis for public policy or law. Your own discomfort is just your own issue, and you can’t and shouldn’t make it other people’s problems.  
It wasn’t long ago that the kiss would have been highly controversial if Sam’s boyfriend instead were a white woman. Indeed, the first black/white kiss on network television was on Star Trek between Kirk and Uhura, and it caused quite an uproar. The ick factor then was much higher. Back when I was young, it was illegal for me to marry a white woman, and now I’m married to a white dude. Times change, and so do attitudes. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Sam / boyfriend kiss is that no one complained about it being an interracial one. 
I’m fairly sure next time an NFL player kisses his boyfriend on camera, it’s not going to get so many people’s panties in a bunch. Then we can finally start talking about how well they play football, and not whether they happen to be gay. But so long as people think a simple kiss is going to end the world as we know it, we sadly do have to keep talking about it, until we finally kick the “ick” out of our public discourse.
– George Takei


  1. While the pictures are viscerally unappealing to me, there is a certain appeal that none of these objectively good-looking dudes are my competition for a mate. I'm not grossed out by kissing, but I guess the GOP slippery-slope argument is that allowing this will lead to tomorrow's prolapse photography becoming Core Curriculum for kindergartens.

  2. Nice take 10:50!

  3. Jew, yes, depending on circumstances
    Latin, yes, depending on circumstances
    Gays, yes, depending on circumstances

    For such an en lightened in the loafers guy, you sure see the world in black and white. Why no room for discretion?

  4. If you're offended by someone being Jewish, Latin, or gay TFB.

    How is that for enlightened?

  5. You are such a need to read you own didn't ask asked, in your face.

    Tthere is a big difference. What you think is always okay, depending on the circumstances, is the same as those asshole bike riders who like to jam up rush hour traffic once a month.

    I am cool with bikes on the roads, but that doesn't mean I am in favor of them acting like assholes to prove a point.

  6. Here's a newsflash. If I spontaneously kiss my husband, as I often do in our driveway in the morning as we're parting off to work, it has nothing to do with you. Your reaction to it doesn't concern me, that's your issue.

  7. You learn something new every gay.

  8. Dude, you are hysterical...i don't have a problem with you kissing your husband in your driveway. Just don't do it dressed up like Liza minelli, in a gold thing, with pop poms, on Lincoln road, while wearing a strap on, on a normal Sunday afternoon when I am eating with my young kids.

  9. Spencer"s WorldMay 17, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    This is icky. All kissing is icky. The germs are through the roof. Mrs. A and I have our "fun-fun" time on Sundays and every other Wednesday night, but kissing is not really on the menu. Yucky. Icky.

    Meanwhile, if you have been kissed, while at work, against your will, we can file a lawsuit and recover damages for you. Just call 1-888-kiss-mee and lawyers are standing by to take your complaint.

  10. Spencer, godflacker hurt my feelings....i feel damaged....can you take the case?

  11. @3:29

    I'm hysterical? Prepare to be carved up like a Thanksgiving Turkey.

    You are the one ranting on about where I can kiss and what I should wear. Should I check with you for hairstyle too, or who should I vote for in the summer primary?

    Strap ons are fine when one or more partners doesn't have a penis. This doesn't apply to me.

    Liza Minnelli? Really, because every queen dresses like Liza Minnelli, right? And all Jews are cheap and all African Americans just looooove that watermelon, don't they? Because public attitudes should always be based on the most extreme examples and bigoted stereotypes, right?

    Face it Nan, you're a window shopper. I suggest you stay home heavily drunk, watching reruns of Leave it to Beaver for the next hundred years. You're not going like this century.

  12. [flash to dude in high pink legins, with funky glasses, toting a small dog in pink leash]


    Seriously bro, the most disturbing part of this is that what you index stand from the posts has no connection to what is actually written.

  13. @8:46

    I only respond to complete sentences. I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.

  14. Same you spell check!

  15. 3:29 that sounds intriguing, Can we work in Frank Sinatra somehow?


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