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Springfield, MO and Anti-Gay Flirting Laws – Why the Kiss In Really Matters

August 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

springfield moOrganizers of the Great Nationwide Kiss In understood the importance of a kiss when they first decided to turn it into a movement. They repeatedly told the stories of: the two men in El Paso who were kicked out of Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas for kissing; the two lesbians kicked out of Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas for kissing; and the two young mean forcefully detained for a kiss on a popular promenade is Salt Lake City which is now owned by the Mormon Church. Those are the stories we hear and feel because they happened, they are fact. But what about the stories we don’t hear because the residents are afraid of the repercussions from law enforcement and stay hidden in the closet?  What about those we don’t hear because the law turns them away?

While kiss in events have spread internationally, one city in the United States won’t be having one – not unless a few brave souls will step forward and organize it. Springfield, MO residents have advised the national organizers that, because it is illegal for persons of the “same-sex to flirt” in the city, they cannot hold a kiss in event. Although the law isn’t as direct in its wording as the residents, their short-hand version is on point.

The actual law is made part of the Springfield Code of Ordinances, Sec. 78-224, which states:

It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place to invite, entice, persuade or to address a person of the same sex for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading such person to commit sodomy. Sodomy means any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, tongue, hand or anus of another person.

Even though the law does not specifically indicate that the parties involved must be of the same-sex, it’s obvious the law cannot equally be applied to heterosexual couples. Why? Heterosexual couples can claim that they were not enticing (publicly anyway) sexual acts that constitute sodomy under the law. Instead, they could easily claim that the flirtations were for the purpose of missionary-style vaginal intercourse.  Note: I have just learned that the tile of this law is “Solicitation by Homosexuals” therefore, claims of heterosexual violations of the law are moot.

Because nearly all aspects of “gay sex” are covered under the sodomy law, including mutual masturbation, gay persons would not be able to claim a sexual advance as anything outside the scope of this local ordinance. Thus, a kiss in event could likely be considered a criminal act in Springfield, MO and the people there have fallen silent choosing oppression over possible arrest for intending to entice sodomy.

The law, even if not enforced, is doing exactly what it was intended to do – keep gays away.  That’s why these events are important. They are not about public displays of affection, they are about equality — they  ARE about not being afraid anymore.

The Great Nationwide Kiss In is being held in over 50 cities in the US, Canada and Guam.  This morning, the third promotional video was released.

Closet Talk: David Mailloux and the Great Nationwide Kiss In

August 06, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Headline

Closet TalkAs you’ve likely heard by now, members of the LGBT community have been experiencing more and more acts of harassment for public displays of affection which have heretofore been allowed only if the couple is heterosexual.  In El Paso, two men were told that, “faggot stuff” wasn’t allowed after they exchanged a kiss standing in line at Chico’s Tacos.  In Salt Lake City, two young men were forcibly detained by security after giving each other a kiss on a prominent and high traffic promenade because of a kiss.  In San Antonio, two women were asked to leave Rolling Oaks Mall after allegedly kissing in public.  Even more recently, two men at Inferno, a wine bar in SAN FRANCISCO, were allegedly forced out onto the street and called derogatory names by the owner after exchanging a hug and a kiss at the bar.

Fellow blogger, David Badash, had enough and proposed a kiss in on his blog.  He was quickly joined by David Mailloux, of dym-sum.com, and Willow Witte of Join the Impact.

David Mailloux, National Coordinator for the Great Nationwide Kiss In, joined me last night on Closet Talk, relaying his personal coming out story and discussing the events leading up to the Great Nationwide Kiss In.  It was a pleasure to have such a wonderfully kind and devoted member of our community on the show:

To find out about events in your area, please visit The Great Nationwide Kiss In on facebook.

Everyone’s a Freak To Someone – the Inclusion Problem and the Great Nationwide Kiss In.

August 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

kissinI would like to take a few moments to sit on my pulpit and vent. The new promotional video for the Great Nationwide Kiss In has been released. Like the first, this video is very sweet, very powerful and expresses the point well. In fact, the promotional videos have expressed exactly what many of the local events want to do – and why.  Before going into my lecture, take a moment to watch the video and draw from it what you will:

Now, the three primary folks involved in planning this event on the national level are ordinary folks, just like you and me.  David Mailloux, David Badash and Willow Witte.  They are working hard to defend our rights from those that would tyranize us.

But who is the “us” they are defending?  According to one commentator on the video you just watched, the us isn’t inclusive because it did not refer to queer or intersex.  With that in mind, I point out that the fully inclusive way to refer to the “us” folks is arguably, LGBTQQIA – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Allies.  An acronym for which I really care (explained more later), but try to remember when considering the “Gay Community.”

As someone who has worked hard to identify biphobia, transphobia, racism and other biases within the “Gay Community,” and to address and end those issues (including my own ignorance and misunderstandings) – I’m going to express what may turn out to be an unpopular, but not biased, opinion.  At some point, the labels have to stop.

Now imagine for a moment you were standing before an audience of people that disagrees, at least to some extent, that gay people should have equal rights – these are the people WE are sending our message to, not to the LGBTQQIA community.  Now imagine we complicate that message with the LGBTQQIA and then attempt to explain all the nuances of the all encompassing “Gay Community” to those that work so hard to defeat us.  For example, explain to them what “questioning” is and why it is included.  The message, would, in my opinion, be completely lost.  Why?  We’ve overcomplicated it in an effort to be “P.C.”  We’ve acronymed, for want of labels, ourselves out of understandable, linear thought.

Did you know that “transgender” can refer to heterosexual cross-dressors?  Yup.  Many of them identify with the transgender community.  It’s not just about a biological female changing the physical to match the psychological.  Should we now have LGBTQQIA[CD] to be truly inclusive?  When do we stop with the acronyms and accept the fact that we are all simply human and deserve equal treatment?

The point here is this – when you see people out working very hard to secure a better future for anyone within the LGBTQQIA label factory and feel they’ve left off a letter somewhere, they are very likely your closest ally and an improper target for negative comments and name-calling.

The full text of the comment left that has me so infuriated that our own community would further divide itself is thus:

you forgot queer and intersexed you cisgendered misogonyst

That accomplished nothing – it was spiteful and distasteful – not too mention the wrong word, misogonyst, for the intent of the comment as queer doesn’t translate to “woman.”

So to those that would agree that the people like David Badash, David Maillouw or Willow Witte, who are stepping up to the plate to lead OUR COMMUNITY to a better tomorrow are excluding a group within our community, please – be proactive.  Suggest they be more bi-inclusive for example or perhaps step up to the plate yourself and join in.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but – divided, we fall.

Author’s Note: The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily the opinions of the Great Nationwide Kiss In or it’s champions, David Mailloux, David Badash and Willow Witte.  Any problems, concerns, misconceptions or angry emails about the content contained herein should be addressed directly with the author.

It Was Only a Kiss, How Did It End Up Like This?

July 23, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

kissinHere’s the Press Release for the Great Nationwide Kiss-In being planned nationally by the Davids (David Badash and David Mailloux) and Willow Witte.  Please help spread the word:

In response to recent events in three different U.S. cities, where gay or lesbian couples have been harassed, detained or arrested, for the simple act of kissing in a public place, two gay rights bloggers have joined forces with the national grassroots LGBT organization Join the Impact to create the Great Nationwide Kiss-In. Now, David Badash (of the New Civil Rights Movement), David Mailloux (of DYM SUM), and Willow Witte (Co-Founder and Director of Join the Impact) are seeking event coordinators throughout the United States to help organize these Kiss-In events.

“It is our goal to have as many cities or towns holding events as possible, to create the strongest statement we can against harassment of the LGBT community,” Mailloux said. “And it will be incredibly easy to put one of these events together. Most of the work involves publicity – networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, press releases to local media, and hanging flyers in and around the site of the event.”

“We’ll send written guidance and standard press releases to anyone interested in holding their own related event, to make this even easier for anyone who wishes to help,” Mailloux added.

The Great Nationwide Kiss-In will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 2 p.m., Eastern Time (11 a.m., Pacific Time). Badash’s original vision for the event would have as many couples as were willing to participate – gay and straight – showing this simple, innocent form of affection for one another in popular public locations throughout the United States.

“Both gay and straight couples should be able to kiss whomever they like, wherever they like,” Badash said. “If you want to give your better half a kiss, or hold their hand while walking down the street, then you should go for it. Lord knows, this world could use a lot more love, and a lot more people displaying acts of love, affection, and kindness.”

Gay activists and bloggers throughout the country have said that the recent incidents involving gay and lesbian couples kissing in San Antonio, and El Paso, TX, as well as Salt Lake City, UT were entirely related to their sexual orientation.

“It’s truly shocking that – in 2009, with homosexuality decriminalized throughout the United States – we are still seeing law enforcement and other individuals harassing and detaining homosexual couples,” Mailloux said. “In two of the three incidents, the couples only kissed on the cheek. There’s nothing inappropriate about that. There’s nothing illegal about that. Kissing is a beautiful thing; it’s a timeless show of affection for our loved ones. People kiss on the cheek or on the lips every single day, in any number of public places – airports, subways, sidewalks, coffee shops. The LGBT community should be allowed that same right without consequences.”

Unlike other recent isolated kiss-in events in Salt Lake City and San Diego, the Great Nationwide Kiss-In is exactly that – it’s on a national level. While the other events have taken place on or near Mormon church property, Badash, Mailloux, and Witte all agree that the Great Nationwide Kiss-In should be as non-controversial as possible.

“These events are meant to be fun and emphasize the beauty of love and simple affection between two people,” Witte said. “People shouldn’t be made to live in fear of expressing their love! It was meant to be celebrated. We just want people to come, to enjoy the company of the LGBT community, then at 2 p.m., everyone will kiss. We want to make this statement about the beauty of such chaste affection, and the right for everyone to share that affection with whomever they choose in whatever environment that suits them.”

As of July 23, the coordinators have confirmed five events in Boston, MA; Irvine, CA; New York City; San Diego, CA; and San Francisco, CA. There are also organizers trying to get events started in Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Memphis, TN; Northampton, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; and San Antonio, TX.  If you would like to coordinate a Kiss-In event in your city or town, can join organizers in one of the above cities, or if you have other questions about the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, please contact David Mailloux at GreatNationwideKissIn@gmail.com, or call him at (617) 213-0433.