"Before Christmas a friend said "You and Chris aren't very affectionate in public. Is it because you just aren't very affectionate or is it something else?" The thing is, from my perspective, I always thought we actually were. If we're dining with friends and Chris is beside me I'll casually place my hand on his back and give him a light caress perhaps even a brief head rub. I may even lean against him if the situation allows. But, I guess I pay more attention to that than my friends because most times I express my connection with him it's actually personally confronting. I know people may see it. I know it may challenge their perception of love. I know it may have awkward consequence. Yet, the thing is, whenever we have shown affection to each other there was no consequence. It was only a relatively recent walk of the dog, where we weren't being expressive at all, that some bogan shouted "faggots" from a passing car.
It's the fear of that happening in a restaurant, in close proximity, that may impact our friends or family that make being ourselves in public challenging. My loved ones, my family and friends, don't bat an eyelid. Perhaps it doesn't register with them at all because whatever they see is a natural reflection of the affection of two people and for that I am so grateful.
However there's still gay people who are beaten for something as simple as holding their partner's hand. A bashing in the UK in the past few weeks springs to mind. Unfortunately, for most GLBTI people, every time they feel like holding their loved one's hand it's fear of violence or judgement that subsequently comes to mind.
I'm just wanting to share this thought with my straight friends who may be interested in stepping into someone else's shoes for a moment. Imagine loving someone, as you most likely do, and pausing to hold their hand because you fear judgment or violence may occur as a result.
This is why we need to look at ways to help our society lose old prejudice. Prejudice is what empowers violence. Marriage Equality won't flick a switch for those that feel empowered to hate but it will certainly make a positive difference. It will be a signal from society that the GLBTI community aren't to be feared or reviled. They aren't to be prejudiced against or marginalised. If someone wants to yell "faggot", one day they'll start being conscious that their hatred isn't backed by society. So, instead of pausing to hold Chris's hand for fear of public prejudice the bogan leaning out of the ute driving past may pause instead.
I know it's hard for my straight friends to understand when, in the most, it appears life is good. Life could be so much better and that's what I'm working on. Life, for us in this society, could be as good as yours :)
Between now and that day I'm going to try and be better at holding Chris's hand when we're walking down the street. I'm going to try to banish the fears I have always held, supported by past judgement and prejudice. I want others to see it because change only comes through visibility and I want people to see that the world doesn't crumble by a little PDA.