Your big brother has always been the coolest guy you know. He was your first best friend, but also your first bully. Even if you think you’re too old for him to pick on you, you know deep down that you’re lying to yourself. You’re playing into his game. This is exactly how he wants you to think. It doesn’t matter how old or how big you get, the effects of his brand of psychological torture will continue to manifest themselves in ways that surprise you for the rest of your life Here’s how your brother molded you into the person you are today.
You know the lyrics just as well as he does — but it doesn’t matter because you aren’t Michael Jackson (RIP) and this family band ain’t the Jackson 5. You only sang backup so big bro could crush the part of the song people actually recognize. To this day, when I hear Tom Petty’s “American Girl”, I catch myself singing only the “make it last all night!” part even though I’m alone in my car.
2) You Always Had To Play Video Games Using The Broken Controller.
He’s better at most games because he’s been alive longer than you and has gotten more practice, but somehow, you still had to play using the control with the broken stick or unresponsive “L” button. Even though the Super Nintendo is technically both of yours, he was bigger than you and the rules that govern the jungle also apply to sibling relationships.
3) You Love Wrestling And Have A High Threshold For Pain.
Take advantage of his remorse. He doesn’t want to hurt you-hurt you. If he thinks he’s gone too far, he’ll usually stop. Just get a light misting into your old peepers and whimper a little bit. This method has gotten me out of some serious pickles.
5) You Inherited His Clothes When He Grew Out Of Them.
You needed to grow up, so naturally your brother told you the things that your imaginary friend was saying to him behind your back. You didn’t need that Judas anyway, you had a manipulative older brother to hang out with.
7) You Have Defended Yourself By Lying On Your Back While Flailing Your Arms And Legs Like A Turtle Who Knows It’s About To Die…
I think it was the Sphynx who said, “You must lash out with every limb, like the octopus who plays the drums.” Try this one as an adult, like at the bank or something. It should still totally work unless it doesn’t. I don’t know. I rarely go to the bank.
For Better Or Worse, You Are Who You Are Because Of Him.
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
Growing up, I remember placing my hand against my dad’s much darker skin. Our skin tones were always very different. People would say I looked more like my mother but I think they were just seeing the same white complexion. I didn’t have my dad’s deep brown skin or his jet black hair but I had his eyes and his way of looking at the world.
More than once while growing up, I had friends point out the difference between the two of us. While my mom had a mix of white European backgrounds, my dad had Mexican, Indigenous, and Spanish blood flowing through his veins. Her light skinned, slender form contrasted his dark and rotund one. However, I’ve never met two people who were more complimentary of each other than my parents.
In the 1980’s interracial marriage was still against societal norms in South Texas.
My parents married in a small church in Highlands, Texas during Holy Week. They were joined in celebration by my dad’s large Latinx family. On the other hand, my mom’s family wasn’t so eager to be there. The only reason they attended was that my dad provided their wedding clothes and personally drove them to the church. They didn’t support my mom’s decision to marry someone brown.
My dad’s family was happy to welcome my mom. Still, their welcome came with some trepidation. When they announced their engagement, my grandmother solemnly asked my father if this is what he really wanted. This was not a rejection of my mom but my grandmother’s concern about the ugliness that they would face as an interracial couple.
Officially, interracial marriage was legalized across the United States in 1967.
The decision to legalize came after the landmark Loving vs Virginia case. The Supreme Court found that the laws banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Though it was now legal, it wasn’t exactly popular at the time. South Texas was slow to adopt any kind of sweeping social change, especially if it was mandated by Washington DC. To put this into perspective, look at how desegregation was approached in the area.
Brown Vs the Board of Education reached its historic mandate in 1957. When my dad and his siblings were going to school in the late ’60s and early 70’s their school district had only just begun the process of desegregation. My father would tell me stories of being bussed to the “white schools” to fulfill the 1957 mandate. When he and my mother married in 1985, the city was still very segregated.
Though it was legalized 10 years after desegregation, interracial marriage had just as much trouble being accepted by conservative Texans.
Though Texas has a diverse population, outside of its major metropolitan areas, it’s still socially conservative. Texas is also part of the Evangelical Protestant Bible Belt and is home to close to ten million Catholics, Protestants, Methodists and Baptists.
The state’s religious breakdown is very relevant when we talk about interracial marriage. Historically, many religions practiced in the U.S. disavow mixed marriages. For example, the Christian Bible is often cited as a reason against the mixing of the races. However, there’s no actual text that prohibits interracial marriage. Both Deuteronomy 7:1-6 and 2 Corinthians 6:14 urge the Israelites not to intermarry with the Canaanites.
That passage in Deuteronomy reads:
“Neither shalt thou make marriages with them [Canaanites]; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.”
On the surface, this might look like a case against interracial marriages. Nevertheless, it isn’t as the Israelites and Canaanites were of the same ethnic group. The argument here refers to the difference in tribe and religious observations as reasons not to intermarry. Still, though there is no text to back this up, many continue to use religion to argue against mixed marriages.
Another reason why interracial marriage is opposed is something I have lots of experience with.
One of the social objections to interracial marriage has to do with the offspring of these marriages. Interracial children come from several different cultures. A common worry is that these children will never fully belong to any. Similarly, objectors claim that these children will be shunned by their respective cultures for being mixed.
This has been a major arguement as recently as 2009. Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell was exposed for refuseing to officiate interracial marriage. It was his opinion that these marriages do not last long. Additionally, he claimed he didn’t want the kids of mixed marriages to suffer unduly.
“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way. There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage. I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”
I can honestly say that Bardwell is absolutely wrong in his thinking.
A little over 35 years ago, my parents met, dated and fell in love. They had me — their oldest daughter — 13 months after they tied the knot. My little sister joined the family 18 months later. She and I have never felt unloved.
We were raised with my dad’s side of the family. As such, we grew up with quinceañeras, authentic Tex-Mex and my grandma’s telenovelas filling our childhoods. While we were lighter in complexion than my fully Latinx cousins, we were no different.
My mom didn’t have the same sort of family support my dad did. Long before their wedding, her relatives were family in name and name only. However, she loved my dad with all her heart. That included his culture.
My mom had no exposure to Latinx culture before my dad — she didn’t even have any Hispanic friends at the time. Still, she embraced my dad’s family and heritage; learning Spanish words, cooking Mexican food and teaching her children about our culture.
While my parents found acceptance from his Latinx family, not everyone was as accepting.
Unlike the questions I got from childhood friends, some microaggressions were meant to genuinely hurt my parents. In their neighborhood and, later, when they moved to Houston, my parents didn’t face discrimination or harassment. It was outside these safe places that they experienced bigotry.
My mom has told me stories of times when she and my dad were stared at; sneered at even. Traveling through the small towns of South Texas, my parents’ relationship was sometimes treated with hostility and, other times, like an oddity.
There is a particular story my mom has shared about this. When she and my dad were newlyweds, they went to eat at a cafeteria-type diner. Walking in, dad was immediately aware that he was the only person of color in the restaurant. My mom explained that all eyes were on them the entire time they ate. They were treated as some sort of sideshow while they were there. As my dad put it, they should have sold tickets.
This isn’t the first or the last time my parents would be made to feel abnormal because of their marriage. I remember once they had glamour shot-esque pictures taken of themselves. The photographer applied a filter that completely washed out my dad’s complexion. Totally infuriated, my dad pointed out to the photographer that they made him look like a white man instead of a Latino. It was fixed eventually but the damage was done.
There are other bolder attacks and countless microaggressions but my parents paid most of them little mind. After all, they were together and happy.
Additionally, they were welcomed by my dad’s community and that meant a lot. When my dad died 33 years after they joined in marriage, it’s my dad’s Latinx family and community who rallied to support my mom, my sister and me in our grief.
My parents’ love created that world; one where my sister and I can always find welcoming and love. All the glaring bigotry in the world can’t take that from us.
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