I was delighted to see the above piece about William Shatner schooling same-sex kissing critics about what sex is and what it isn’t.
From his Twitter Feed: Kissing is not “sex”; it’s a display of love. Babies & children are kissed from literally the moment of birth. So how can you even argue that seeing others kiss is detrimental? What you really are doing is trying to claim a professional way to justify your prejudices.
Sex isn’t kissing a person of the same sex.
Sex isn’t holding hands with a person of the same sex.
Sex isn’t hugging a person of the same sex.
Sex isn’t being so close to a friend of the same sex that the usual “flight distance” isn’t observed or maintained.
All of the above behaviors reflect trust and intimacy — the belief/feeling/sense that you can feel completely safe and comfortable in another’s presence.
Conflating intimacy with sex is the domain of the people who think every act of intimacy is either an invitation to get it on, or an outward expression by people who can’t wait to get it on. (“Take it to your room. What you’re thinking of doing is shameful and disgusting.” If you’re equally appalled by cisgender straight folks acting this way in public, too, you’re not homophobic–you’re sex-phobic or public-display phobic, which are other issues entirely! I’m this way–but I’m repressed!)
I have zero doubt that lots of people think my best friend and I are intimate physically/sexually. We are not. We are kindred spirits. I’ll want my best (same sex) friend at my bedside when I die.
I’ll want my best friend at my side for hundreds of occasions: holidays, movies, exercise, vacations, watching goats… you name it!
We’re intimates, but we’re not intimate. But because we share that special something that conveys “I trust you with my life , my secret shames, my joys and my true self”, I’m sure lots of people think the physical enters into it, too.
Simply because we stand closer to each other than most people do. There is no need for a “flight distance” or “safe space.” We’re 100% safe standing as close as we do. We confide in each other from this distance. It looks intimate because it is intimate–but it isn’t romantic or sexual.
I was intimate with DeForest Kelley as a caregiver, but we were not lovers. We loved each other and trusted each other implicitly, but his lover was his wife of 54 years. Period. The sad fact is that I wanted to hold his hand to comfort him, but I rarely did because of the way it would have “looked” to other people. It would have been misinterpreted.
I held it during the nights he was dying, not before, when I was alone with him, so it couldn’t be seen and misinterpreted. I loved him to Antares and back, and so did you if you ever met him. Love is a lovely thing! It shouldn’t be cheapened by gossip, innuendo and suppositions.
I’m transgender. I’m celibate because the kind of intimacy I crave isn’t available to me. I don’t have the right physical equipment to “make it so” and pretending I do will never satisfy me, so I won’t torment myself or anyone else trying to simulate the experience.
But I’m intimate with the very few people I trust totally. I’m transparent with them.
Most people, I think, can pretty quickly discern who’s going to be okay with us just as we are, and who isn’t. Our intuition is pretty sharp.
But now I’m going to start rethinking this whole “display” thing. I’m going to consider holding hands and kissing people more often, instead of just hugging them hello. Because I know I’ve been “infected” by the same “bug” in America that says, “If you kiss or hold hands with someone in public, you must be a couple.”
I want intimates and couples in America to feel and to be safe and treasured in public, no matter who they are.
Love and affection are good, no matter who’s displaying it: straight, gay, asexual, cisgender, unaffiliated physically, or whomever!
It’s hate and fear that are the aberration.
A kiss is a good thing.
A hug is a healing thing.
Holding hands is sincere affection on display.
Anyone who isn’t okay with public displays of affection like these has deep-seated problems–some kind of phobia or societal “dis-ease” brought on by people whose views of sexuality have been hijacked and hammered by holier-than-thou preachers, teachers or parents who are themselves repressed, depressed, frustrated and ensnared in their own “shameful” ,”forbidden” urges.
Shameful to whom? Forbidden by whom? (Ever read Song of Solomon in the Bible?)
The answer: by other repressed, depressed, frustrated and ensnared adult human beings!
God is love.
Love is good.
Hugging, kissing and hand-holding are displays of love and trust.
If you can’t get there, get over it. Get help.
William Shatner gets it.