May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), a worldwide rallying event offering an opportunity for people to get together, reach out to one another, and educate about the dangers of anti-LGBT discrimination and hatred in our society.
So far, at least six U.S. cities are participating in this year's event, the "Great Global Kiss-in." Participants will meet up, canoodle, smooch, show affection, and show that affection and love between people of the same gender is nothing to be afraid of.
Our friends over at Towleroad put together a great list of cities participating in the U.S (click the city for their Facebook page):
- San Francisco -- Monday, May 17, Kiss-in & Solidarity Speak Out, Harvey Milk Plaza, Market and Castro Streets, 5:00 PM
- St. Louis -- Sunday, May 16, Great Global Kiss-in, Citygarden, Corner of 8th and Market, 3-4 pm.
- Portland, Oregon -- Monday, May 17, Great Global Kiss-in, Pioneer Square, 701 southwest 6th Ave, 2-3 pm.
- Chicago -- Saturday, May 15, Great Global Kiss-in, The Bean, Millenium Park, 3-4 pm.
- Austin, Texas -- Sunday, May 16, City Hall Plaza, 3-4pm
- New York City -- Sunday, May 16, Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, 1:30 - 2pm
- New York City -- Monday, May 17, Times Square, at the base of the red TKTS staircase, 6-7pm.
- Birmingham, Alabama : contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for International cities, including places in the UK, France, Germany, Guatemala, Spain, Peru, Columbia, Israel, Italy, Australia, Cameroon, Switzerland, Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, China, New Zealand, Paraguay, and Argentina.
Event organizers are also asking people to submit videos of their kiss-ins to www.youtube.com/group/greatglobalkissin, tag their pictures on flickr with 'GreatGlobalKissIn', or submit them via gays.com/idaho.
Acts like the Great Global Kiss-in are important. Simple acts of affection between people of the same gender are still seen as shocking and taboo and can too often lead to violence. The larger issue of "men kissing=gross", for example, is not an uncommon theme in television (as I've written about before), the media, and in society in general. Highlighting the differences between the way we view and treat those couples and their heterosexual counterparts can be illuminating and freeing.
Affection between same-sex couples or gender non-conforming couples is not out of the ordinary and shouldn't be something that leads to violence or hate. We shouldn't be afraid to hold hands, kiss our partners or spouses, or be like any other couple when it comes to being affectionate and showing our love and commitment. The old meme of "I don't care what they do as long as they don't shove it down my throat" is a false double standard from those uncomfortable with LGBT people that needs to be challenged. Showing love and affection is natural and should be treated as such- whether between opposite-sex couples or same-sex ones.
Hopefully, a day will come when events like the Great Global Kiss-in aren't necessary or acts of rebellion. Until then, we keep fighting one kiss at a time.