California State University East Bay

It’s ok to be uncomfortable with PDA

February 20, 2015

With support growing for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, or LGBTQIA community across media platforms, I can’t help but notice how many TV shows like “Scandal,” “Elementary,” and “The Originals,” display same sex affections on a regular basis. It makes me a little uncomfortable to see and if you feel the same way, just know that it’s ok.

Regardless of sexual orientation, people can be uncomfortable with public displays of affection. For those of us who grew up in the ‘90s, we had TV shows where intimacy was rarely shown, and when it was a big deal. Watch the first two seasons of “Friends,” and hear how the audience “Ooohs” and “Awws” when Rachel and Ross kiss for the first time.

pdaEven the Fresh Prince of Bel Air didn’t show many intimate moments with women, despite how many Will dated on the show. These shows set the television standard we’re used to and it’s going to take some getting used to the new amount of PDA we see on television, let alone the LGBTQIA PDA.

“Support for legal rights for the LGBTQIA community should not be confused with acceptance toward the LGBT community in general,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD.

I see it a little differently. You can support same sex marriage, support all the rights for the LGBTQIA community, support equality, but still feel uneasy seeing it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable when you see something you have already accepted and not be the slightest bit homophobic or unsupportive of the community.

It’s no different than when you see your parents date or get married after a healthy amount of time since a divorce. It takes a while to become familiar with any big change.

It’s not something we are used to seeing, but the next generation of children is going to be used to it as shows geared towards kids are displaying same sex affection as well.

The Nickelodeon series “Korra” ended with the female Avatar entering a relationship with one of her female companions, Asana. Even the Disney show “Good Luck Charlie” introduced a same sex couple as parents.

The YouTube series “Kids React” displays exactly what our kids think about same sex couples. Their responses to seeing proposals were the same thing I imagine parents saying, “Oh it’s two guys or girls…but that’s ok.”

We’re at the point where we have to remind ourselves and tell children, “It’s ok.” The difficulty with what we’re seeing is a little more extreme than the innocence they see.

There is a big difference with having gay characters and doing big scenes with them. Some gay couples on television have very subtle relationships, like Cam and Mitch from “Modern Family” or Barbara Kane, future mother of Batgirl, being in a relationship with Detective Rene Montoya, both of which just kissed on television, while others push boundaries.

With the first episode of “How to Get Away With Murder,” we witnessed an intense sex scene between the two of the male characters. We even saw some very raunchy sex scenes in “Orange is the New Black” between many of the women.

It just takes some time to get used to, but TV shows should really pull back and slow down before pushing too much, too far.

If you feel uncomfortable when you watch those scenes, but know that you’ve accepted the LGBTQ lifestyle, just remind yourself “it’s OK.”

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