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Hey Queers, Come Hold Hands By My Kid

holdinghandsThere’s been a lively debate going on over at my post about a judge who ruled that a man’s children couldn’t be “exposed” to his gay friends. And one of the biggies is the assertion by several Babble readers that they wouldn’t allow someone (gay or straight) to hold hands in front of their kids.

So I’m wondering, Babble readers, where do you draw the line?

In our house, holding hands is kosher – and that includes from my gay friends, who sit on my couch thigh-to-thigh, my daughter spread across their laps playing with Barbie while they hold hands. My husband and I are also known to kiss each other on the lips in front of her, her straight grandparents to playfully slap one another on the butt (yes, I avert my eyes . . . they are, after all, my parents!).

But I’m particularly proud of my gay friends for being comfortable enough in my home to hold hands and once in awhile lean in for a peck on the lips. I’ve even confessed to my friend that while I don’t want him to think I’m USING him to set an example for my daughter, I’m glad that example is there all the same.

It’s something I want her to be used to. After all, in 2007, there were one thousand four hundred sixty hate crime offenses based on sexual-orientation bias were reported by law enforcement agencies (I make that distinction because this is a problem that’s largely un- or under-reported, not least because only 31 states and Washington, DC actually cover sexual orientation in their legislation). Of those (according to an About.com round-up):

  • 59.2 percent were classified as anti-male homosexual bias.
  • 24.8 percent were reported as anti-homosexual bias.
  • 12.6 percent were prompted by an anti-female homosexual bias.

My gay friends, by and large, don’t touch each other in public for this very reason. They don’t feel less affection for one another. But they’re afraid of the violence that a simple pinkie finger linked with another’s will bring upon them. Says one, he’d prefer a “bloodless coup,” teaching other people that he is a person first, without having to “throw his gay in their face.” He respects people’s discomfort. He is, in essence, the bigger person.

But even at the local equivalent of the Gay Pride Parade, where the bulk of the crowd is out loud and queer, the touching is much less inappropriate than the “no gay PDA in front of my kids” camp would have you believe.

I wouldn’t want to see anyone, gay or straight, having sex in front of my kid. And I haven’t met a gay person yet who WANTS to. Even the hand holding and the lip locking is the kind you see from straight couples in public . . . the kind that I largely regard as evidence for my daughter that there’s love in the world.

So I’m not ready to shut the PDA factory down. I prefer for her to see people showing affection, and that includes gays.

But what’s crossing the line in  your household . . . be it from straight friends or gay ones? Is it all out sex or teenage-style groping? Or are you in the “no touching . . . ever” camp?

Image: Sager Scenes

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