This post appeared on Huffington post and deserves reading. So often, we, the LGBTQ community treat coming out as if it were a single event that you do once and you’re done with it, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Coming out includes being comfortable enough with yourself to share with others, and Lorie Burch describes another level of that notion of “comfort.”

Lorie Burch wasn’t alone. Many gay and lesbian people experienced a similar response to the Michael Sam kiss as well as many straight people. A poll showed that a large number of Americans had trouble with the kiss, and these results prompted Michaelangelo Signoreli to host a kiss in on Facebook.

And, as much as it pains me, my first feeling was I was uncomfortable. Now perhaps not for the same reasons for which others have criticized the kiss, but I was initially uncomfortable none the less. I had to immediately stop and wonder why.

For one, I grew up with the same messages and images as everyone else about what is accepted and I just wasn’t expecting to see this display of affection and it caught me off guard.

Two, as someone who wants so very badly for Michael Sam to be treated equally and for there not to be any controversy surrounding him, I was afraid (and I was correct) that many people would use the common line of: “It’s OK to be who you are, just don’t throw it in my face.”

And finally, his boyfriend is obviously much smaller than him (who isn’t smaller than Michael Sam?) and I cringed at the thought this might feed one of my least favorite stereotypes that among gay couples, one is more masculine and one is more feminine. Again, we are saddled with that image we grew up with and we try to force same-sex couples into that mold. I think there are even same-sex couples who do this to themselves, but that’s a topic for a different day. Was it Ellen DeGeneres who said, “Asking a gay couple who is the man and who is the woman is like asking which chopstick is the fork”? I love that.

I want to applaud Burch’s courage in sharing her real experience. It can seem blasphemous and even anti-gay to share such a sentiment, but the reality is that for us to keep moving forward as a community, we have to get comfortable sharing uncomfortable things. We have to be willing to express what happens f0r  us and our journey towards greater acceptance. If you read the comments to her post however, most people miss her point entirely and don’t take her lead.

For me personally, the thing that causes me discomfort, is the picture of the kiss which happened after the cake- there is stuff all over Vito’s face, and every time I see that image, a part of me down deep worries what people will say; how will that image play into negative stereotypes about gays and perversions or gays redefining marriage (the cake sharing and post-cake kiss is very wedding-like). I think: why can’t they use the kiss picture from before the cake when they both looked “clean cut”? My rational brain knows this is silly- it is a vestige from my past and all of the homophobic stuff I have heard and absorbed by proximity. There is a reason they call it internalized homophobia. And every time we uncover a bit f it and let it go, we come out a little farther.

I bet if you ask anyone- it isn’t the actual telling someone else you are gay (or lesbian, or bi, or trans) which is the hard part. It is dealing with the fear of telling them which is the rough stuff. And I believe, we take some comfort in believing that we hold the ability to control when and to whom we are going to come out. But when something public, like this now famous kiss happens, the tables are turned, and we have lost a little bit of that control and the fears are more evident.

Some say, we need more gay kissing and that is completely true. LGBTQ couples need to get comfortable doing it, seeing it and having others see it. Our PDA’s need to be as nonchalant and as customary as everyone else’s. My partner and I are pretty comfortable with PDA’s. We kiss all the time, but if I’m honest about it, each time there is a conscious decision made- it doesn’t simply happen involuntarily or without thought. Changing this, is part of our coming out, as well as the collective coming out of LGBTQ couples.

So my hat is off to Lorie Burch and I hope others are able privately or publicly  to begin to grapple with these questions so that our collective coming out continues.

Read Lorie Burch;s post here.

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