David Mailloux is an event coordinator with the Massachusetts chapter of Join the Impact. He is also the national press contact and national volunteer coordinator for the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, and will be planning the Boston Kiss-In event alongside JTI-MA co-chairs Paul Souand Morgan Collado. This is his first national event, so please be gentle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I first heard of the incident in El Paso, where two gay men and their friends were harassed by security guards and police officers for kissing in public, I thought it was a fluke. Then, only a couple of days later, I learned that a similar incident occurred in Salt Lake City – one man kisses his boyfriend on the cheek and, within minutes, they find themselves thrown on the pavement and handcuffed by Mormon Church security guards. A few months earlier, a woman kissed her girlfriend in a San Antonio mall, and essentially the same thing happens – except they were arrested!
They were kissing! On the cheek! It’s so innocent, so pure, probably the purest sign of affection there is, but these men and women were harassed, detained, even arrested for it. And this is 2009, folks. There is no question that this happened because they were gay. That’s the bottom line, and it’s not right.
A friend, and fellow blogger, David Badash published a blog about this (you can read that blog here) a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I read it, I realized that he and I had to band together on this one. We both started talking about it to friends and acquaintances on Twitter. How can such a beautiful expression of one’s love for another person be deemed inappropriate, or labeled “faggot stuff” and result in arrests? We wanted to find others who wanted to make a strong statement to everyone everywhere: that kissing is not a bad thing, nor has it ever been. It’s not illegal, nor is it vulgar or inappropriate. It’s a sign of affection that is as old as time itself. And it’s a beautiful thing that we share with our loved ones every single day. And if there is anything that this country needs more of, it’s definitely love – love and affection and kindness. Most of all, though, it’s love.
As a result of all the blogging, networking and rage, David Badash and I are joining forces with Join The Impact’s Co-Founder, Willow Witte, to organize the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, on Saturday, August 15, 2009, at 2 p.m., EDT (or 11 a.m., PDT). In the coming weeks, we hope it evolves into a simultaneous occasion of kissing and hugging between thousands of couples, gay and straight, in cities and towns all over the country. This will be a fun and lighthearted event, but one with an extraordinarily strong message as well: we are human, capable of a beautiful normal love like everyone else in the world. We won’t keep being excluded. There is nothing wrong with us.
Please consider joining us on August 15, both to have fun and to send out that extraordinary message to folks all over the country. If you want to host/organize an event similar to what is already being planned in Boston, New York and several other cities, please e-mail us at GreatNationwideKissIn@gmail.com as soon as possible; we will send you written guidance on how to plan your event. Again, it’s going to be really simple to put together, but we need people from as many different cities as possible to help us. In advance, thank you!