Sometimes, A Kiss Is Just A Kiss
Love is love is love...and we can never have too much of that, can we?
I love country music, but I don’t watch award shows. I have this thing about art not being a competition, so I missed T.J. Osborne kissing his boyfriend. Not that I think it’s anything to get all worked up about, anyway. I’m sure it was a beautiful moment, but if Osborne was straight, would it be any different than him kissing his wife or girlfriend?
More importantly, why should it be?
And that’s my point. It was a genuine, beautiful, heartfelt show of affection. By that definition, of course, it was special. But to treat it as a triumphant moment for LGBTQ rights seems a bit over the top. Sure, I get it; there was a time when such a moment would’ve set off alarm bells of righteous indignation (OH, THE HUMANITY!!! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???). Anti-LGBTQ stalwarts would’ve been busting veins in apoplexy as they rushed to get themselves in front of cameras and microphones to express their righteous anger.
And yet, it was just a kiss.
Then again, the back story makes Osborne’s moment a bit more poignant than it might have been otherwise. The country music community hasn’t exactly been renowned for being the most accepting. Nor has it been known for its tolerance and understanding. Fans and the industry itself have long tilted to the right politically and ideologically. LGBTQ performers (Chely Wright comes immediately to mind) have seen promising careers come to a screeching halt once their sexuality came into question or once they came out as LGBTQ.
Osborne himself didn’t come out until this past February, and while who and how he loves is no one’s damned business, it, sadly, is everyone’s business these days. And it really shouldn’t be.
Once up a time- September 2015- I wrote about my lingering discomfort with seeing two men kissing. It wasn’t something I was upset or offended about; I just needed to recognize the reasons behind it. That discomfort was the legacy of the values I absorbed from the small northern Minnesota town where I grew up. While I have no problem with anything LGBTQ, I occasionally find myself reacting to something before I understand why. Again, it goes back to the small-town values I grew up immersed in. I only need to acknowledge it, understand it, and get past it.
America needs to do the same thing. And parts of it are. That’s been refreshing to see over the past few years, the acceptance of the (not so very) radical idea that love is love is love. It shouldn’t matter who or how we love. It should only matter that we DO love- because if there’s one thing that this world can never have too much of, it’s love, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
I can understand why people were fussing over T.J. Osborne kissing his boyfriend, but I think a more significant and lasting impact would’ve been to treat it like any other moment. So instead, celebrate it for what it is- a kiss, an expression of genuine love and affection. And then let it speak for itself.
I hope to live long enough to see the day that when someone comes out, the collective response will be a yawn, followed by “AND….???” I’d love to see the day when the question of who one loves is held to be of far less import than the fact that one DOES love. Because Lord knows our world is hardly suffering from an oversupply of that precious commodity these days.
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