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Why we need to hold hands more, not less, in 2014

Randy Potts

March 7th, 2014

Let’s hold hands in Sochi Greenwich Village (and elsewhere) in solidarity and as a show of strength.

CBS News in NY reported last night that a gay couple celebrating their 10th anniversary were holding hands at a subway stop in the West Village in New York when one of them was violently attacked:

Police said the man first asked Masterson if he and his partner were gay, and they ignored him. That was when he attacked.

“He just came at me in two seconds, and then he started shoving me towards the tracks,” Masterson said.

Masterson told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria he and Moore had gone to dinner and a Broadway show to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.

“My heart just fell, you know, I mean, we were on such a high from the weekend,” Moore said.

Masterson said he taken to the hospital with a broken nose and other facial fractures.

It’s been my feeling for awhile now that attacks like these will begin to increase as the perception grows that we are winning among people who have been slow to catch on. This report from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog explains that

According to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 41 percent of Americans oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry. But that same 41 percent has a highly skewed perception of where the rest of the country stands: nearly two-thirds of same-sex marriage opponents erroneously think most Americans agree with them. And only two in 10 same-sex marriage opponents realize that the majority of Americans support marriage equality.

Essentially, the more homophobic you are, the less likely you are to realize how dramatically opinions have changed in the last few years. As the most homophobic among us begin to wake up and realize how much the world has changed, they’re going to be angry, and many will want to actively do something about it.  It’s called a backlash, and the last time we had a major social change regarding civil rights, in the 1960s, it took a decades before the resulting backlash finally calmed down.

Last summer we talked about showing solidarity in Sochi  by holding hands — athletes, gay or straight, could silently protest during the Winter Olympics by simply holding hands.  Maybe we need to start a little closer to home.

Now that it’s obvious it’s not necessarily safe to hold hands even in Greenwich Village, NYC, where gay people have been out of the closet for longer than probably anywhere else on earth, maybe it’s time we showed solidarity by holding hands MORE in protest.  Maybe we need to organize groups to go to several major subway stops in NYC and hold hands for 30 minutes, every day, for the next week.  Maybe it’s time to force the issue when a lot of us, for good reason, won’t want to hold hands in public.  We’re sitting, literally, at a tipping point, and it’s time to force the issue — is it safe to be openly gay in public, or not?

We’ve been putting our energy and our money into the fight for marriage equality, and that’s great, but marriage rights on the books will not make it safe to hold hands in public.  Marriage rights won’t make it safe to put our arms around each other in the theater, or kiss across the table in a restaurant, or say goodbye at a train station, all the things straight couples do on a daily basis without a second thought.  Once we win the fight for marriage equality, places where it’s unsafe to be gay will remain unsafe to be gay, and not much is being done about that.  These places where it’s unsafe are not just the Deep South or rural areas but include Greenwich Village in New York — which means, essentially, everywhere.

If there’s ever been a time to make a bid for public safety it’s today, when the majority is sympathetic but also has no idea how dangerous being open can still be for LGBT people.  Whether we do this as a part of a group or simply every time we are out in public with a partner, something has to do be done or things will never change.

 

 

Comments

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Mark F.
March 7th, 2014 | LINK

In Saudi Arabia, men holding hands is considered a sign of friendship and would not raise an eyebrow. Crazy world we live in, right?

vigilence
March 8th, 2014 | LINK

We need to equip those willing to hold hands in public with video cameras. Perhaps discreet headcams, so that we can put an end to gay bash perpetrators and to send a message to would be gay bashers that they are on candid camera. We need to see the faces of these gay bash freaks. Could have others with discreet video cameras near by to film the bashers.

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