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Can I Be Straight With You...?

Written By: Segun Oduolowu

Is it still ok to be straight, and uncomfortable with two men kissing on TV? Can I, as a man have gay friends and be uncomfortable at the idea of them making out?  The popular media would have us believe that if you are not an ardent supporter of all things “same sex”…you’re a card carrying homophobe.  For example, recently ESPN aired the intimate kiss Michael Sam shared with his boyfriend, upon learning he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams.  Now we can debate on whether they stayed on the couple for too long, or if Michael Sam wasn’t gay, would the network have shown the drafting of a 7thround pick?  But that’s a slice of cake, and an argument for another day.  The question I pose is can I be happy that Michael Sam was drafted, and still say I was uncomfortable watching him kiss his boyfriend?

To be honest, I don’t know anymore.  I have gay friends, which I know sounds like when white people say they have “black” friends.  But in reality, I do have gay friends.  I’ve been to gay bars with them, been to baseball games with them, played in basketball games with them, and even introduced them to my “straight” friends and family.  This does not make me the arbiter of tolerance; it’s just a statement of fact.  I’m in the television business, my hair, my makeup, my clothing, at one time or another has been coiffed, applied, or selected by a gay man or woman too many times to count.  Hell, my regular barber is a lesbian.  Can I still say that gay sex makes me feel icky?  Darn it…I just don’t know.

Part of why I’m confused, is that the argument for, or against tolerance is so convoluted and hypocritical.  On the religious right side, where politico’s can’t wait to get in front of a camera, thump the bible, and decry homosexuality as a mortal sin.  These same zealots seemingly have no compunction with two hot women getting it on, which is a cinematic staple of porn.  Furthermore, more pornography is purchased and downloaded in the “Bible-belt” states than in any other area of the country.  So…is it gay sex that’s the issue, or is it man on man sex?

Many may have a problem with seeing gay sex, or affection openly shown, because “it’s just the way things have always been”.  But the way things have always been, isn’t always good.  Times were once, that an interracial couple was taboo.  Women couldn’t actively serve in combat.  Homosexuals couldn’t serve in the armed forces.  We wouldn’t live long enough to see a black man serving as President in the White House...Times change, and people evolve.  We often times learn about accepting things, by excepting things.  Because we are not used to seeing two men kiss, it rankles our sensibilities.  We’ve seen women kissing one another for years.  Sharing the same beds, getting dressed, and supporting one another in times of grief and joy.  We haven’t been exposed enough to men expressing themselves the same way.  Perhaps this is the solution.  More men kissing; doing it openly until those uncomfortable by it, are forced to see it and accept it for what it is.  An honest display of affection towards someone you love.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable watching anyone “make-out” in front of me.  Could be my own prudish sensibilities, or it could be that I never know if it’s being done for show.  I think affection is a uniquely private thing shared between two people (Now just watch, my inbox will be flooded by swingers who think I’ve trivialized their lifestyle).  I don’t want to see into your bedroom, no more that I want you looking into mine (Though mine would be classified as “MUST SEE TV”).

To my homosexual brethren I say, “get down with yo’ bad selves”.  You shouldn’t have to change your actions, just to make other people feel comfortable.  To my straight, seemingly liberal do gooders, hiding in the closet afraid to say that man on man action disturbs them, I say “it’s okay”.  Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t make you a hater.  Real intolerance comes from not being allowed to express yourself openly, and truthfully… and for all those religious, bible thumping bigots, who decry smut, and deviant sexual behavior in all of its forms, yet somehow have turned porn into a multi-billion dollar a year industry, I say this…”You’ve already downloaded so much dick, one little kiss won’t kill you.”

"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm...As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands.  One for helping yourself, the other for helping others."

Audrey Hepburn