Do we always have to be role models for the LGBT community?

Do we always have to be ‘role models’ for the community?

Do-we-always-have-to-be-GÇÿrole-modelsGÇÖ-for-the-lgbt-community-As an out and proud ‘professional lesbian’ (yes I do refer to myself as such when people ask what it is that I do), I find that I am often the voice of reason for setting examples in the LGBT community. I had an encounter in Chilli’s, a popular chain restaurant, last week that made me see things from a variety of perspectives.

Here’s what happened:

I was picking up a to-go order from Chilli’s. My wife and children were in the car as I was running in quick. As I went into the bar to pick up the order, I found a woman sitting by herself at the bar. There was a lone man on the other side of the bar and an older couple enjoying their lunch at a booth. Within a couple of seconds of seeing this woman sitting there I was trying to figure out where she worked. She had a uniform on that’s consistent with an auto parts store. I didn’t think much of it and turned my attention to ESPN’s Sport Center (which I have really no interest in watching) which was on the TV.

Moments later a second woman came out of the bathroom wearing a mechanics suit. I immediately made the connection that the women at the bar must indeed work together. When the second woman had a seat at the bar, they immediately proceeded to engage in some over the top PDA (public display of affection).

I am not a fan of PDA across the board, whether you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight. I prefer not to see it. And this is where I make my point. As an advocate for the LGBT community I take it as a personal responsibility to provide a positive portrait of who same sex couples are. The purpose of my blog and my life’s mission is to educate people about the LGBT community. Our community is not made up of a bunch of people who fit stereotypes, we are like everybody else living their lives, oftentimes quietly in the background. As a mother of two small children, I can tell you that my life is no different than any other parent who has two small children; it’s chaotic and not that exciting all at the same time.

So when a lesbian couple are inappropriately groping each other in a Chilli’s bar, what type of message is that sending to the patrons around them? I couldn’t believe their behavior and walked away. If I am turning away from the way they are acting, I can’t help but wonder what the older couple on the other side of the bar was thinking. Did the behavior of these two women reinforce that couples current belief system about LGBT people?

What do you think? Do you think PDA helps or hurts the cause? And do we always have to be ‘role models’ for the community? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

5 comments to " Do we always have to be ‘role models’ for the community? "

  • As a general “rule” I am not for PDAs – from straight or gay/lesbian people. I think a quick peck is okay, holding hands is okay but much more than that is not.

    When folks in the LGBT community have overt displays of PDA, I think it hurts us all and is inappropriate – save that for when you are home. Displays like that might turn off a potential ally or put a bad taste in the mouth of a current ally.

    -L

  • I was briefly married to a man at one point and I must comment on absence of stress that I remember feeling. It ranged from the ordinariness of being a married woman at a doctor’s visit, a job interview to casual affectionate PDA. It’s the absence of the stress that is so intense to lose and hard to name for others. Added to that the ‘sexualisation of our lifestyle which is portrayed as deviantly provocative and salacious. I think PDA’s but for the most basic off interactions like standing or walking together are the most I can tolerate with anyone but I think the over the top stuff embarrasses most ordinary people. They were unhappy but oh such ‘endorsed’ het days!

    • That’s such an interesting view point – the absence of stress that you felt as a heterosexual married woman. I would have no idea what that feels like but that is such an interesting thing to think about. Thanks so much for coming over from Twitter to comment on my blog, such a great comment!

  • […] to be done? The idea of having good LGBT and allied role models has come up on the blog before. Click here to read one from earlier this year. Whether we are consciously thinking about it or not we are role models for someone else. A little […]

  • […] to be done? The idea of having good LGBT and allied role models has come up on the blog before. Click here to read one from earlier this year. Whether we are consciously thinking about it or not we are role models for someone else. A little […]

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