Just A Kiss?

Elizabeth January 11, 2012 1
Just A Kiss?
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In August 1945 a kiss between a sailor and a nurse grace the cover of LIFE magazine.  Who they are isn’t important.  What it represents is.  According to Alfred Eisenstaedt the photographer of this iconic photo,  “The sailor was running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight,” “Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make any difference.”  Apparently the sailor was elated to hear that the war was over.  This famous kiss as it turns out was shared between two random strangers.  Nevertheless it was the inception of what would become a Navy homecoming kiss tradition.

 

In 2011 after “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed the couple in the spotlight for the Navy homecoming kiss tradition is a Lesbian couple.  These women are both Petty Officers in the US Navy.  This was a historic event for our queer community, because this was the first time a same-sex couple was chosen for the honor.  When I first saw this picture, I was genuinely filled with joy, and suddenly felt proud to be an American.  The image restored some of the faith that I had lost for my country.  Although there are still many issues that need to be addressed, it is inspiring to witness victories of equality.

The kiss shared between Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., and her partner of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles represents a sort of “The war is over kiss” if you will.  Not the sort of war that is fought in physical combat, but one that has been raging in our prejudicial military system long before the implementation of 1994’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.  In 1950 “The Uniform Code of Military Justice” was used to openly discriminate against our queer military personnel.  It has taken 66 years for our queer military personnel to be allowed to serve openly.  66 years for the military to not penalize public displays of affection between two same-sex military personnel.

This kiss isn’t just a kiss. This kiss conveys the intimacy between two people who love each other. These are not two random lesbians running down the port looking for anyone to kiss. It’s two individuals who no longer have to hide their love for one another.  This is a true celebration, because they can now participate in that freedom for which they train, and prepare to defend.

The fight for equality among our queer military personnel isn’t over.  We must continue to fight until queer military couples are afforded the same federally funded benefits that are available to their heterosexual counterparts.  Let us not grow weary, nor lose sight of what we are fighting for, no matter how long it takes.  Let us also not forget the sacrifice of those who have given their lives with out reserve so that we can arrive  in this moment in history ~We Are Qulture.

 

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