The Politics of the “Kiss Cam”

Everywhere we go we see straight people kissing. They kiss in public on the streets, they kiss on prime time TV shows, and they kiss in the movies. It doesn’t matter whether you want to see it or not, there’s no avoiding it. Even for young children, it’s inevitable that they’ll see straight couples kiss.

The same can’t be said for gay couples, who rarely kiss on television or in movies, and often avoid kissing in public for fear of harassment.

This sentiment is mirrored at baseball games. During “Kiss Cam,” a camera pans the crowd and selects a couple, who kiss as a heart frames them. The couples selected are always straight couples, reinforcing the idea that people don’t want to see a gay couple kiss and that straight relationships are more legitimate.

At a recent football game in St. Louis, two guys were the focus of “Kiss Cam.” They reacted as if the idea of kissing was disgusting. The fact that “Kiss Cam” focused on two guys who were not a couple and showed their grossed out reactions to homosexuality — before focusing on an actual gay couple, at that — is just a little insulting.

Both gay couples and straight couples go to baseball games — why should only straight couples be selected?

One sports columnist wrote an article explaining his belief that the “Kiss Cam” shouldn’t focus on gay couples. “Because I’m not ready to discuss same-sex relationships with my 3-year-old. I don’t think she’s ready, either,” he said.

Sorry, but that argument doesn’t fly. Are you ready to discuss opposite-sex relationships with your 3-year-old? If she can handle learning about straight relationships, it’s ridiculous to assume she can’t handle learning about gay relationships. And if this columnist isn’t ready to discuss opposite-sex relationships with her, why is it acceptable for her to see straight couples kissing?

A child can understand a gay relationship just as easily as they can understand a straight relationship, if the two types of relationships are presented in the same way. The only thing that may be difficult to explain to a child is why gay people should be treated unequally.

Straight couples are being displayed by “Kiss Cam,” so gay couples should be displayed also. There’s nothing shameful about gay people kissing, and there’s certainly nothing obscene or inappropriate for kids to see. Part of accepting LGBT people is accepting that they have relationships just like straight people, and those relationships deserve respect and dignity.

Photo credit: Thomas Duesing