“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
~~ Ingrid Bergman
I should explain, I think, what I mean by “queer kiss” and why I’m so grateful for it.
I like to kiss. And when I say kiss, I am not talking about making out, Frenching, or anything like that. I mean the kiss from Mom, from a grandmother, that rare one on the cheek when I was a very, very young boy from my father.
Sadly he stopped that.
It always made me sad when I would see females kiss. Again, not talking lesbian kissing, but just the very happy and honest exchange of friendship two women can have—any two women. The kisses seemed so freely given, so happily received. I wanted that.
But boys don’t kiss. Not for any reason.
Then I came out. I was startled the first time a man kissed me when it wasn’t for passionate reasons. Just that same freely given kiss I’d seen women exchange all my life. Oh, I was surprised! I even drew back.
And then this amazing, wonderful, blissful, warm, joyous feeling hit me. I had just received what I’d wanted all my life. Wanted even before I realized I wanted an altogether different kinds of kiss from a man.
Very quickly, at bars, parties, lunch and dinners with friends, parting at the end of an evening with a friend, at the Metropolitan Community Church—whose outreach is to the GLBT community—I was getting kisses all that time! Kisses freely given and most happily received—and returned.
Midwest Men’s Festival is no exception. I have received more kisses in the last eight days than I have in the last eleven months. But that is a different story. I’ll talk about lack of kisses a different time. Today is only about the joy of those “queer” kisses.
What are queer kisses?
It starts with the totally bad reputation that word gained over the decades. Queer was bad. Queer was odd. Queer was sick.
But science has finally proved that homosexuality lies in the genes. No one decides to be gay. One is born that way. The only choice is whether to fight the current that desperately pulls a homosexual person along—or whether to try and deny it (and be, on some unconscious level at least—forever unfulfilled).
The word “queer” is being claimed. Being embraced. Being celebrated. And one doesn’t even have to be GLBT to be queer. I know many, many “straight” people who have a decidedly queer spirit.
“Queer” has also been celebrated at Faerie and gay men’s gathering events and festivals all over the world. A very important and honored gay activist by the name of Harry Hay grew concerned—even as he celebrated—the acceptance of gay men and women. What he was seeing was that gay people were being homogenized into the straight culture.
In other words, it’s okay to be gay—as long as you are like straight people in every single way except who you sleep with. You must find a partner, you must be monogamous, you must buy a house and have a fenced in back yard (if not a white picket fence), you should raise children and certainly have a dog and/or cat (and there was nothing wrong with both). Do not go overboard on public displays of affection. Don’t be effimanant. Make sure you are into sports.
Etc, etc, etc….
It was a rejection of the ways of the gay subculture that had gone on since at least the 1920s if not decades or even centuries before.
Harry wanted to make sure the GLBT community didn’t forget it’s very important roots—drag queens a butch dykes and every other faction of a culture that goes back to ancient times where a priestess of some lost religion could be male.
He wanted people to not be afraid of being “queer.”
A big part of that is the celebration of a kiss. An exchange of love and affection. Two female friends can do it. Why not two men?
I will also tell you that one of the most meaningful kisses I’ve ever had in my entire life was from a very heterosexual man on New Year’s Eve a few years. It was heartfelt and it was full on the mouth and it lingered.
I could guess that as straight as he is, he has a touch of queer spirit too.
Wow am I grateful. For it all. For a straight man who can kiss my mouth, for the fact can exchange kisses with the men who mean so much to me, and finally, to embrace my own queerness.
I wouldn’t exchange it for a pirate’s hoard of treasure.