“This is where I felt comfortable kissing my girlfriend in public.”
Placed with love on a stop sign on the corner of 1st and Brookes, Hillcrest, San Diego, CA.
So I’m also a girl, and PDA is an often discussed thing in our relationship out of fear of harassment or even violence.
The morning I placed this sticker, the two of us were in Poway (a suburb Northeast of San Diego) as my girlfriend was getting some work done on her car. It was a lovely morning, we walked to a coffee shop for lunch. On the walk there, however, we made note that we were not comfortable being an openly lesbian couple and holding hands and the like. We took note at the coffee shop that it seemed… very straight and white and middle class and that we felt a bit out of place there. It’s not that anything overt happened, or anyone treated us poorly… just sort of acknowledgement of the air of ‘All American Normalcy’ that we don’t conform to that was surrounding us.
We then went for a walk to hang out in Old Poway Park. There were tons of families there having picnics and playing games and enjoying the weather. And we started to judge them and this pervasive heteronormativity. Now, I should probably stop and mention that my girlfriend is one of the least judgmental people I have ever met, and this is something that I also strive for. But that day we both were judging everyone in sight there. Snide comments of why anyone would ever want to live in such a homogeneous place and about the kids growing up with this idea of the perfect all-American family that doesn’t reflect the diversity of ‘real life’, etc, etc.
I’m not proud of the judgments we bestowed upon the people there for no reason.
But as my girlfriend and I were walking back to pick up her car, we were discussing this. We were still being snide but then we stopped. My girlfriend said to me “we are being INCREDIBLY judgmental right now, and I dont know where its coming from. I’m not sure why today is different. I’m not in love with Poway, but it’s not like it’s a bad place or anything.” To which I replied “you know what it is? I want to hold your hand right now, and I don’t feel like I can.”
And that was it. That was the source of our judgmental moods. A simple gesture that we felt that we could not participate in at that moment. And it was wearing at us.
Fast forward to later in the day when we ended up in Hillcrest (San Diego’s historically LGBT neighborhood) wandering around, holding hands and being a regular couple. As we walked back to the car, I leaned over and gave my girlfriend a quick kiss. And then it hit me how stark the contrast was between that moment and earlier in the day. In Poway, I didn’t even feel like I could hold her hand. In Hillcrest I didn’t even think about giving her a quick kiss.
I immediately got out a sticker so I could share this bit of what its like to live as a queer couple.
It felt so nice to just feel normal.