Post Classifieds

Prejudices show in public displays of affection

By Marty Green GUEST ESSAYIST
On May 1, 2012

Stories of people flaunting their sexuality can be heard throughout the Brockport campus. In the dining halls, house parties, res-halls and just the general campus itself. One may see an LGBT person in public, perhaps expressing his or her gender through his or her appearance or demeanor, but honestly what it all comes down to is a person's perceived homophobic reactions to a person, mostly rooted in Xenophobia (fear of difference, or of being different).
We've all seen this in communities not regarded as LGBT, but among those who dress a certain way based on the culture or social groups that a person identifies with. If someone likes to dress differently, such as dressing in all black clothes, it's not a good idea to judge them or accuse them of flaunting a cultural identity.
It's not a good idea to deny anyone with immutable or unchanging characteristics representation, so why pick on someone who identifies with a different sexuality? They can't just change who they are.
When it comes to public displays of affection (PDA), LGBT persons are constantly accused of flaunting their sexual identity. A heterosexual couple can easily walk down a hallway holding hands, or kiss their other goodbye without facing ridicule. If two gay men kiss in public, people call it flaunting and may react with homophobia. Two girls do it and heterosexual men are drooling at their feet. Among lesbians, a stigma still exists as well, especially when the couple stands outside of gender norms.
These accusations of "flaunting" are due, in part, to notions of heterosexual privileges in which heterosexism prevails. Heterosexual privilege, in itself, can be defined in the many ways in which heterosexuals carry certain unearned advantages, such as the right to marry, to not be harassed based on sexual orientation, or live knowing that others will automatically think of them as heterosexual. It is heterosexual unearned advantage to actively participate in a heterosexual lifestyle while many gays and lesbians face discrimination among accusations of flaunting a sexual identity.
One could say heterosexuals flaunt their sexuality. Examples of this can be seen when guys make cat calls and objectify women, when someone wears a wedding ring in a state that does not allow gay marriage, and when some couples actually look like they're attached at the hip. Most of us have seen close relationships across campus, and can probably note when couples cross the PDA line, but when someone is like "Ok you're gay. We get it.", flaunting becomes the problem. This is discrimination and homophobia. You'll never hear, "OK, you're straight. We get it." so stop accusing.
Perhaps we're just a tad unnoticeable with all the heterosexist attitudes and beliefs on a college campus, but here's some news: LGBT communities do exist, and we want our recognition too. So if you see a man walking alongside his boyfriend and they're holding hands, it is their given right, just as you would give heterosexual couples the right to do so.
Now, if you're someone who does not like any kind of PDA, more power to you. In other words, think about the implications your opinions are enforcing when you discriminate against gay couples for showing affection. Personally, I'd rather not walk to class and watch anybody make PDAs, but there should also be a little more inclusivity and not just representations of heterosexual relationships.
 


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