2 men kissing in Biden’s video moved many to thank him on Instagram.
2 Men Kissing in Biden’s Video — An Uncoded Invite To the Group Hug
After a year of COVID isolation i would rather not have to look for subtle rainbows, equal signs, for the guy with a fauxhawk in the back of a crowd to determine if i’m included in a message or campaign. You might as well just throw a Unicorn mask on the caricatures of gay guys in mainstream shows that are meant to both advertise to a gay audience but keep prime time chaste. Biden’s video includes two seconds of two men kissing that you’ve not seen in any 2 seconds of any government-issued anything before. This is visceral, skip the search, the decoding and go directly to feeling it. We’re in the land of ‘No Malarky’ as promised. The words are olde tyme. The rest is unprecedented.
This video, posted to the @POTUS account (not @joebiden), was part of last week’s campaign resilience campaign. Near the beginning, as part of the “Before” section, with images of Americans connecting, are 3 seconds (of 86 total) that flash first two women, presumably lesbians, then the two men kissing, and then to what looks like the same men leaning on each other in crowded bar or venue with a show.
I asked a few other to react, and almost to the person each thought they seemed like real people, like people they would see in their lives, and might know. A few found them so familiar that they were cavalier about the significance and tried to call me an old Boomer. They were wrong. I’m a verified Gen X slacker. I reminded them this was not in their homes, part of a gay Youtube or in an LGBTQ space. This was the President of the United States posting in the official future-archived account, speaking to everyone in the country. And whether or not the president even saw this video, it appeals on a visceral level to gay men directly in a way that has never been comfortable to the mainstream. That it feels so familiar is important. It did what it was supposed to do. Reach us on a visceral level. Mission accomplished.
Instagram responded politely, with the kiss highlighted a number of times in comments. Commenter @dcvining’s:
“It is honestly so profoundly meaningful to see he President of the United States post a video that contains 2 men kissing; even if for a brief moment. Like yeah, major strides have been made over the year, but as an out gay man, these past 4 years included so many major setbacks upon my own community and various others. So thank you, seriously means a lot.@dcvining on Instagram
I had the same reaction, but i think it’s even more unique.
Here’s the challenge: Can you can think of another portrayal — fact or fiction, still or moving pictures, recorded or performed live and intended for a mass, mainstream audience that connects so directly, with no decoding required AND that is ultimately NOT used to shame or ridicule the subjects or to shock someone else? If you can, please comment it below. I can’t come up with a single example that isn’t compromised in some way to protect someone else from awkwardness. So while it feels familiar to us. It is unlikely to feel that way to others outside of our space.
This hiding and coding in public isn’t all top down. We do our own all the time, hesitating and not doing something others would. Is this Biden Video a Unicorn? Brokeback? Shame. Dude Where’s My Car? Ridicule. Queer as Folk? Shock. QAF is probably the closest, though it never was marketing mainstream and was on the shocking side, ultimate proof of the theory that everyone should be allowed their own telenovela that is left alone.
2 Men Kissing in Biden’s Video — No Tie Nor Caveat Required
It’s a difficult moment? Some of us live fully integrated, in relative safety while others fear being exposed everywhere they go, maintaining two separate lives. It’s almost impossible to generalize for the whole country other than to say we remain “othered.”
2 Men Kissing in Biden Video is Part of Universal Call to Remember Our Connections Before COVID
2 Men Kissing in Biden Video is Universall Call to Remember Our Connections Before COVID
Every one is a step in the right direction.
And that is what makes these seconds of men kissing in the video even more remarkable. Three seconds, up front. Gay men kissing in a video from our President. No nervous laugh. No reaction shot showing the shock. In fact, the reaction shot is them looking easy and satisfied with their right not to give a shit what anyone thinks.
2 Men Kissing in Biden Video — Advanced Class: Universal Trigger for Love
But this goes to an even higher level. Those three gay seconds with a hot passionate kiss are right at the beginning of a video intended for everyone. They didn’t produce a procession of kisses by all possibly types of people. And it’s not tossed in at the end to say, “oh, and this is for you too.” There is in fact some danger that this will be interpreted as some kind of universal experience, a trigger for anyone because it is just so hot; a trigger in support of the president’s campaign to get everyone in touch with their own feelings so they get inspired to work hard and rebuild the connections to each other. Biden goes on to talk of our physical needs and intimacy needs unlike any national politician i’ve heard of, getting specific about the way we look at loved ones and the hugging, hugging, hugging.
We have moved so far ahead — or are so isolated — that no one much noticed that the President of the United States used uncoded images that are hot–ok, passionate–to support his first address as president to the nation about our recovery from the hellish loss and isolation of the last few years. He or someone on his team decided this would appeal to a broad range of people, would remind them of the intimacy they used to have, alone, without a bunch of other examples. It’s undeniably a very hot passionate kiss that will inspire some –even with the COVID pounds–to go do the work to re-connect as requested by our president. But choosing to feature this video, with no way out if they feel awkward is unprecedented. What happens if it works and someone realizes they want to connect in that way, sparked by a universal image of two men making out like no one is watching? I’m not going to assume it will make the world a different place or change even one person, but a few more might make a difference.
Another commenter, @twentysomethingandtired commented, ” Seeing the two men kiss in the beginning got me EMOTIONAL.”