Why is This Kiss News?



Oh wait, that’s not the picture everyone was talking about? Nope, it isn’t. But it might as well have been. More about that later… Yesterday, someone (or rather, many someones) asked the above question on the interwebz beneath a picture of Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend when he was selected by the Rams. “Why is this news?” The collective cry went up on social media. People called it all the usual descriptors “disgusting” and “abomination” being among the favorites. Some people lamented that “There are children watching.” Some wondered, “Why would ESPN would show such a thing?” And again many asked, “Why is this kiss news?”


jackie-robinson-e1399921380815Why is it news you ask? I’ll tell you why it’s news. First, it is news for the same reason Captain Kirk kissing Lieutenant Uhura was news; it makes people uncomfortable. It makes people uncomfortable now the same way it made people uncomfortable when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. People say the same things: it will ruin team chemistry; it will make the locker room awkward; it just isn’t natural. As far as the first two go, if you have played a sport or participated in gym class or belonged to a health club, you have already shared a locker room with LGBT people. Get over it. If you are worried about it, here is the link to a very handy article published by The Huffington Post a while back called, How to Behave Around Your Gay Teammate in the Locker Room. As for the last one, “it isn’t natural”, tell that to the 9 million people in the U.S. who identify as LGBT and the 1,500 species of animals that exhibit homosexual behaviors.

Second, it is news for the same reason as it is news when any other public figure (and sometimes regular folks) kisses…9 times out of 10 they are celebrating something. Think about it. People kiss when wars end. People kiss when their team wins. People kiss when they win anything: awards, games, elections, promotions…anything. People kiss when they have a baby and when they get married. People even kiss on the cheek to greet friends or when they are introduced at a party. People also kiss for weird reasons and make the news: when there are riots, when they start college or when they set world records. People kiss. It makes the news. It happens, literally literally (just for you Josh Mitchell) every day. Just most of the time people don’t notice because it doesn’t make them uncomfortable. I am hoping someday soon the picture of Michael Sam and his boyfriend kissing will seem as normal as these pictures of other athletes celebrating their victories…


kel brookSanyaRichardsRoss:aaron ross St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Pujols kisses his wife Deidre after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers to win MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis Chris Bosch Short Track Speed Skating - Winter Olympics Day 3 kyle busch bubbawatson Elway

Or these politicians…

inaugral ball mitt romneyLauraPresKiss

Or these entertainers…

SJP and MB at Oscars Perry:brand grammys brad and angie SAG awards jayz-and-beyonce-pda-kiss-grammy-awards-2014-lead matthew mcconaughey best actor oscar

Or these everyday people…

Vancouver_riot_kissing_couple vj

Listen lovelies, people like kissing (we even like pictures of animals “kissing”). They like to kiss and be kissed. And yes, many even like to see other people kiss. I have a theory as to why. Kissing is an outward sign that love still exists. Kissing means there is still hope for humanity; there is still hope that we can love and be loved. It is a sign that there are still things worth celebrating. And in times of uncertainty and fear, kissing is a sign that love can still win. For me that is what the Michael Sam kiss and all these other kisses represent. And that my friends is why kissing and this specific kiss are news. Good news.  http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/05/10/michael_sam_kiss_the_st_louis_rams_pick_the_openly_gay_missouri_star_in.html

Today My Daughter’s World Changed and It Broke My Heart

This morning I was reading the news and  my daughter walked in and asked me why this woman was crying. My first reaction was to say, “It is complicated” and just sweep it under the rug and hide it from her. She is 9 after all. But then my son came downstairs…
And then I remembered that Kent and I have never shied away from talking to our kids about sex, about pornography, about politics, about death.
And then I remembered that it is women’s history month.
And then I remembered what Rachel Held Evans taught me about honoring and remembering those who have been unjustly killed or harmed.
And then I remembered that nothing changes if I don’t teach my children.
And then I remembered that my son and my daughter must hear from me how wrong this is and how tragic.
And then I remembered that I have to teach them that we must stand up for those without power.
And then I remembered that they have to be told over and over and over…

that women are not less than
that women are not the cause of men’s sin
that women are not to be covered up
that women are not to be silenced
that women are not subhuman
that women are made in God‘s image
that women are equal to men
that women should be able to drive
that women should be able to go out alone
that women should be able to talk to men
that women should be able to have an education
that women should not have to live in fear of their husbands
that women should not have to live in fear of their sons
that women should not have to live in fear of their parents
that women should not have to live in fear of their brothers

I told them why this woman was crying. I told them about Fakhra Younus. I told them about acid attacks and honor killings. I told them there were cultures where women don’t get to go to school, or drive, or go out without a male family member, or speak to a man who was not a family member.

My daughter sat silent and motionless and then she looked up at me and said, “Why?” Why women? Why girls? Why would they do this? Afterall, she has been taught that she is equal. She has been taught that she is valued. She has grown up where she can choose her clothes and go to school and someday learn to drive and have a job. But as I looked at her I could see that she realized that there are people in the world who will always look at her and see less than. There are people who if they had their way would clip her wings and cover her beauty and squelch the fire that makes her an amazing reflection of the image of God. It broke my heart.

We had to leave for school. But we will talk about it again, and again and again. Because my son needs to know. Because my daughter needs to know. And so do yours. Or nothing will change.