(As posted to my Gazette blog)

So, did the Michael Sam kiss make you feel a little uncomfortable? A little squeamish? Apparently, it had that effect on several people, according to numerous news reports and Twitter comments. “Disgusting” was a term used by many in their tweets after Michael was seen hugging and kissing his boyfriend on national TV. The emotional moment for the couple came after Michael learned he had been drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

Hey, I’m sure everybody who was drafted by NFL teams during the weekend hugged and kissed their partners. It’s what people in love do at times like those.

The kiss did not make me feel uncomfortable — at least, I realized later, no more than a kissing scene with anyone else makes me feel uncomfortable. But the controversy got me to thinking about such public displays of passion, and I realized that kissing is a pretty intimate act — no matter who is doing the kissing. I’m more inclined to turn away, to give the couple their privacy, when they feel the need to lock lips. And I confess that I can be a little disgusted when a couple — hetero or gay — are necking passionately in the seats beside me or in front of me in a movie theatre. Yes, it is a wee bit distracting. Like, get a room, eh? (But, hey, I’ve been there, too . . . she says with a wink.)

I would like to think that everyone who reacted negatively to the Michael Sam kiss did so because they would feel the same way if a heterosexual couple kissed in the same circumstances, that they don’t take real-life kissing (as opposed to in the movies) in public for granted. Then it is not homophobia — it is intimacyphobia (I just made up that word.)

But we all know that homophobia was behind some of the negative reaction. There’s not much I can say to homophobes about it, except point out the moral of The Michael Sam Kiss Story: if it is OK for heterosexual couples to kiss in public, then it is OK for gay couples to kiss in public, too. That’s what equal rights are all about. And that’s why the network showed the kiss to everyone — just as they would have shown a hetero couple kissing.

So, if it makes you feel squeamish when you see people kissing — be they gay or hetero — turn your head, or find another seat in the theatre.

Kiss, kiss . . .

— Jillian

P.S. You can comment on this post at my other blog at jillianpage.com