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on boys kissing (boys)

By now enough of us have seen the FCKH8 video. I was directed to it by a somewhat obliquely critical article by Jeff Schapiro at the Christian Post.

The video is silly, of course — overtly mocking but hardly slanderous. It warns of “F-Bombs” at the outset and doesn’t deride Christianity or Christians (as Schapiro posits in the article) so much as it derides thoughtless excuses like “because the Bible tells me so” allegedly used by some Christians to oppose same-sex marriage. But it does include something unexpected. To quote Schapiro:

The only thing perhaps more shocking than the blatant mockery and the excessive use of expletives in this video is what occurs in the final scene. In the last scene two young boys (who appear to be in their early teens) make a statement, the first saying, “If I grew up gay,” the other finishing with, “I want to get married someday,” before they turn to one another for a kiss. Immediately after the kiss a giant F**H8 logo appears and the video is over.

(I watched carefully: The boys (so read) do indeed kiss and part lips before the cut.)

Like Schapiro, i was put off at seeing adolescent boys kissing at the end of a video ridiculing immature attitudes toward marriage. Did they have to include that shot? Was it really helpful to touch nerves unnecessarily by showcasing underage sexuality? Really? children? My face, i’m sure, contorted a bit.

About an hour later i got it. I realized that anti-gay attitudes are so pervasive in our society that i am still, in at least this way, subject to them.

We can have a conversation about the (ir)responsibility of depicting children kissing, and how it suggests all or any (or no) sorts of sexual activity. But that conversation would have to start a bit earlier — at least as early as this:

We’d probably have to reach much earlier still than this:

In fact, why stop there? We can trace visual depictions of smooching children (two naked boys!) at least to Da Vinci:

To make a perhaps more salient point, these vintage images are not of adolescents, as in the FCKH8 video, but of tykes, toddlers, and infants. If there’s a responsible way to suggest the (presumably) future sexual explorations of youths then FCKH8 hit far nearer the mark than these images, of a type so ubiquitous that we have to remind ourselves how strange they are. (If we’re to criticize sexual innuendo, of course, we might also consider the spectre of bestiality . . . but my favorite Googled image might well (and unsurprisingly) be this one.) I would be inviting trouble by speculating upon the relative complicity of the same-sex marriage movement and various Christian churches in pushing the value of monogamy on people far too young to understand what they’re buying into, so i’ll leave that for another time.

Anyway, i’m guessing that this is not the conversation Schapiro — or anyone else positing moral objections to gay marriage or to the tactics of its proponents — wants to have. So i won’t be having it. Not over this, anyway. And good on you, FCKH8, for pushing the envelope a bit further along the desk. And good on you for making me check myself once more, that in the future i may better check my prejudices at the door.

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