The double standard for PDA when you are gay

gayEarlier this week Rich Hawkins who describes himself as a twenty something chap living in London wrote an article published on HuffingPost’s Gay Voices entitled, It’s Okay to Be Gay, Just Don’t Touch Each Other.

In the article he writes, “I have a long-term boyfriend who I live with and share my life with, yet I don’t hold his hand. We are consciously and subconsciously not tactile in public, and yet in private very loving and affectionate…” His article talks about the incredible changes in the general public’s attitude towards homosexuality over the past 20+ years and how this has allowed many of us to live a more authentic life.  However, the title and his assertion that gay is fine provided it remains a hypothetical and doesn’t exist in the form of PDA (public displays of affection) is a surprise to me.  I think nothing of holding Sergio’s hand when we are in public, but I know I wouldn’t do that just anywhere and am always conscious of my surroundings when we are in public and holding hands.

I’m sure we all edit our behavior but to what end?  Much of this is probably determined by where you live and how “out” you are.  For example, I don’t think anyone would feel uncomfortable holding hands in San Francisco’s Castro, Los Angeles West Hollywood or NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, but how might you feel about embracing your significant other or holding hands in Peoria, IL?  What are your thoughts?

6 responses to “The double standard for PDA when you are gay

  1. It took years before I was comfortable with PDA. Some of that was the macho bullshit I was taught growing up and some of it is my own introversion. A lot of it, the vast majority, was coming out and coming of age in the 80s when gay = AIDS = death.

    My husband and I are gay, suburban dads living just outside Minneapolis, MN. My aversion to affection in public has dwindled to almost non-existence in the 24 years I’ve been with Ryan. Raising kids erases all kinds of personal space issues and self-consciousness – it’s one of the many unexpected benefits of parenthood.


  2. For a wonderful take on this, See Pant Bliss, Ireland’s “National Fekkin; Treasure” :


  3. My man and I do when and where it feels right. No so much at any given place. If someone doesn’t like it, they need to accept that some people are gay and the need to get over it. As someone else said.


  4. My man and I do so when it feels right, not much on where, but how it feels when and where. And screw whoever looks and doesn’t like it. The saying,” some people are gay, get over it.


  5. My husband and I are tastefully affectionate in public. So far we haven’t had any negative experiences in Salt Lake City, UT.


  6. I’ve done so with my guy in Providence and Boston. I dare someone to say something negative.



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