What PDA Is Like When You’re LGBTQIA+
Public displays of affection are the common little perks that come with being in a relationship. If you aren’t in a relationship, it can seem kind of mushy but anyone who’s coupled will tell you it’s awesome. Being able to casually hold their hand or lean in for a kiss helps to strengthen the bond you have with your partner. It’s small manifestations of the love they make you feel.
However, not everyone gets to experience this freedom in a relationship. If you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you know that PDA often works differently for you. It can be more rare — and more precious — because of our social climate. It can also be a validation of your love.
Safety is also something that often sets it apart from straight PDA. Around the globe, even here in the U.S. LGBTQ+ PDA can often be an act of bravery. Whatever the difference, it’s proof that you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community and that’s important.
We’ve gathered responses from LGBTQIA+ social media users and they gave us some incredible insights on acts of affection.
The need to cautiously avoid danger is one that straight people don’t often feel with PDA.
“I think that it’s been really hard for me to show any PDA to my girlfriend because there is a factor of ‘what if?’ And recently with so many hate crimes against POC in the LGBTQ+ I have been very cautious. It wasn’t until recently that I have been trying to go outside my comfort zone and hold my girlfriend hand or even put my head on her shoulder. I’m happy about my accomplishments in regards to being more open in public.” — @Angelina.vicenio
There is a trend of queer, femme-presenting PDA being devoured and monetized by outsiders. This writer shared the complexity she feels about this as a bisexual woman.
“Now that I openly date women and femme-presenting folks, PDA is multi-layered. I still love it, but I can feel our kisses being consumed by cishet men in the vicinity. Sometimes, I can hear them whistling or calling their friends over to watch. I wish they knew that these moments aren’t for them. But queer women are so hypersexualized and fetishized that even seeing two of us on a date is perceived as an invitation.” — Gabrielle Noel, writer
PDA is a struggle if you or your partner aren’t publically out yet.
“I’m the mother of a gay son. His BF hasn’t come out yet and they can not show any type of PDA and that frustrates my son so much. They are always in the house and I feel so bad because they are missing out. I live in DC and my neighborhood has many gay couples. Love is love and wherever I go, if I hear someone speak negative about a gay couple showing affection, I shut it down immediately. I try and take my son and his BF to places where they can be themselves, but I also encourage them to be brave and to always stand up for who they are and what they deserve.” — @acro__iris__
When harrassed about PDA, abuse can run the gambit from passive mistreatment to aggressive actions.
“Many people in my life don’t clock me as gay so I guess that counts? Once I was holding hands with a guy in downtown Riverside and got yelled “f-ggot” by some dude in a car. One time I was kissing my high school bf and my “friends” threw a hacky sack at our faces.” — @bruhjeria
This Twitter user reminds us that straight people don’t need safe places to be themselves — but LGBTQIA+ people do.
“Unfortunately, it is hard to engage in minor public displays of affection (hand holding, hugging, small kisses) as a gay person due to mean stares and fears of being attacked. Pride is a safe space for me. Straight people don’t need that type of space to engage in PDA.” — @willygr8tweets
LGBTQIA+ couples are sometimes even forced to hold back during PRIDE — which should be a safe place.
“It’s a shame we still have to deal w people telling us we shouldn’t kiss or engage in pda at pride, at OUR safe space, bc it makes them ‘uncomfortable'” — @emmalejenkins_
However, allies and queer people alike still feel warm and fuzzy seeing LGBTQIA+ PDA.
“Am I the only one who absolutely hates PDA but if it’s a gay/lesbian/queer couple i’m like ((((((-: <333” — @jaydee_cakess
This person reminded us that PDA is a universal right.
“‘U can be gay all u want but i don’t want to see two guys making out in public, ew’ PDA!!! IS!!! THE!!! SAME!!! DESPITE!!! WHO!!! IS!!! KISSING!!! WHO!!! WHY are two men different than a man and woman showing affection in public?” — @c_alexandraxo
Though there is still so much work to do, this Twitter user pointed out the progress the LGBTQIA+ community has seen.
“#LancasterPride shows how far we’ve come. When I first moved here in ‘98, any same-sex PDA had to be checking all directions before gently brushing knuckles. Unless you were at the gay night at The Warehouse. Then you had to practically hump on the dance floor just to say hello.” — @RG_Bhaji