By Diane Silver
We're back today to the lesbians-thrown-out-of-IHOP story via Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks. He discusses the reaction to his first column and IHOP's defense, which boils down to: Hey, they kissed more than once! And, oh yeah, we only asked them to cool it. And, hey, did we say they kissed each other; isn't that yucky?
When asked to respond, the women accused of all that unseemly same-sex kissing say IHOP's comments aren't even close to the truth.
There is no way to tell exactly what anyone did or didn't do. I wasn't there. Hendricks wasn't there, and I have yet to hear from anyone who was. As far as I know, there isn't any video of the incident.
However, I find this all very interesting because I have sat through many restaurant meals, concerts, meetings and assorted other gatherings where young heterosexuals were pawing each other, and I'm not talking about just a kiss. I have seldom (actually, can't think of ever) seen straight folk asked to leave anywhere for expressing any kind of affection.
I have seen lesbians and gays hassled, threatened, beaten for doing nothing more than holding hands. Actually, I've known of gays who were beaten for doing nothing more than walking out of a gay bar.
As a lesbian, I never reach out to hold the hand of my honey without first checking to make certain I'm in a place where I think/hope/pray I'll be safe from physical assault. I have yet to hear of a straight couple who even thought twice about doing the same thing. That's because people react differently to affection shown between straights and gays.
Gosh, I feel like I'm saying something that is blindingly obvious. Is this really news to anyone?
So, what really happened in that Grandview, Mo., IHOP may well be in the eyes of the beholder. For a straight person who thinks any kind of affection between lesbians or gays is awful, even the smallest peck, even the sweetest hand-hold would have been repulsive.
For those of us who are gay, the lesson will be what we've always known: Reach out to your loved ones at your own peril.