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Volume 34
Issue 17
 
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Tour De Life by Beau Burriola
HAND IN HAND
I've noticed lately walking around my Gay neighborhood that things seem considerably less Gay. I don't mean there are less Gay people, or that the ones I see are any less Queer, but I wonder more each year if I'm seeing fewer Gay couples. I'm sure they are out there, but it seems rarer now than ever for me to see two guys walking down the street hand in hand.

A few years ago, I felt like we were everywhere. I saw couples of all types proudly proclaiming their affection and I always smiled with admiration. It made me feel proud when I caught a glimpse of a goodbye kiss or a head leaning on a shoulder, just as any couple would.

"Maybe we're afraid," Matt said as I griped over a chai at Traveler's bookstore. Could that be it? Have we started to let fear of the Jerry Falwells and Ken Hutchisons of the world shape how we live? In response to the challenge of a "culture war," are we simply going to retreat back to confined expressions of affection to dark bars and blind-drawn homes?

"All the couples I see these days," observed Julien, "only walk next to one another like strangers." He described more affectionate Gay men as unfashionable. Is this our new way? Will we walk coldly next to those we love because we think we are too Gucci to show affection?

"Most men don't want love." Pete told me in his deep, serious voice. "They want sex." Of all the reasons I heard, this one made me the angriest. Have we become so inundated with the sex culture we created that so many folks are looking less often for anything else? Even if seeing obvious couples out in public is no indication of their happiness, at least it's some variety.

"The older I get," confides my long-coupled buddy, Randy, about his relationship, "the less I feel like grabbing his hand when we walk around." Do we simply outgrow hand holding and stolen kisses? Is it something only for the young and newly out?

As spring blossoms all around and I see straight couples everywhere hand in hand, I can't help longing for the proud Gay era of Queer forefolk before us. Their battles, their decision to first stand up, and even the blood shed by those who fell victim to small minds make me wonder if somehow we're unknowingly letting go of what they fought for us to have.

For my part, I'm going to do what feels right; for myself, for the Gay people before me, and above all, for those that come after, I'll go out of my way to proudly grab my boyfriend's hand when I walk in MY neighborhood - fear, fashion, and trendiness be damned. And as I do, I'll hope that the warm fuzzy feeling caused by two men hand in hand will inspire someone to remember what that feels, and above all, why it's still important for everyone to still see, especially today.

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." - Harvey Feirstein
visit Beau at www.beaubrent.com

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