A couple of thoughts: yes, the double standards are not subtle; but no, it isn’t crazy that some people reacted to the black-white gay smooch with a little discomfort or even recoil. Even Comrade Stern is able to distinguish between a member of the KKK and someone who just goes “eww” when seeing something he doesn’t usually see and that involves tongues and tonsils and dudes. Not everyone, it appears, who still has that Al-Tipper moment in our scarred subconscious is a raging bigot. For this staggering act of empathy for the otherwise hate-filled masses, we thank Mr Stern. And let me heartily endorse his basic advice: go kiss on the mountain, fellas.
Yes, you can overdo it. When I was flush with out-of-the-closet freshness in my early twenties, I’d occasionally take a date or fling down to the Washington Monument. There was usually a line to get in, full of regular folks, and it made for a perfect audience. So – and yes, I know it’s obnoxious in retrospect – but we’d hang out affectionately and occasionally make out. It wasn’t a kiss-in. But it was a very early 1990s fusion of politics and sex. Friends of mine told me I’d get beaten up – but I figured that wasn’t going to happen smack dab on the Mall. And anyway, fuck it. I’ve obviously long since moved on, but I wonder, looking back, if somebody’s glimpse of us in their peripheral vision may have shifted someone’s perspective on the world just a little. A little discretion goes a long way, but it seems to me vital we do not censor ourselves for fear of reaction or propriety. If people are going to understand us, they have to see us as we are. Even if, as Vito and Michael revealed, it is in a moment of unrestrained joy. Perhaps especially then.