I've never seen people get up and leave following a love scene in a film. I didn't see anyone leave when Garrett Hedlund's character, Dean, lustily slayed Camille (Kirsten Dunst) or Marylou (Kristen Stewart) in Walter Salles' On The Road.
However, I did see a small trickle of patrons leave when Dean enjoyed a same-sex kiss from his admirer, Carlo (Tom Sturridge). This isn't the first time an audience has been privvy to man-love action. When thinking of examples, the acclaimed Brokeback Mountain comes to mind. I mean, we're living in a post Will & Grace, Ricky Martin, Clay Aiken, Modern Family sort of evolved U.S. culture that isn't scared of homosexuality, right?
Maybe, maybe not.
Marriage equality is a novel concept that's rode a wave across the country, seemingly creating the domino-effect of state after state tackling the issue. For all the supporters, there are many who oppose the notion of a man marrying anyone other than a natural woman and vice versa.
The owners of Chic-Fil-A, for example, donate money to traditional marriage supporters and are decidedly unapologetic about it. While this appalls many supporters of equal rights for the LGBTQ community, transversely it appeals to the more conservative masses. Last year, amongst the hoopla of the discovery of the aforementioned donations, the company had a customer-appreciation day which brought them record-setting sales.
What this tells me is that while it may be seen as "en vogue" to support what can be viewed as civil rights for the LGBTQ community in the United States, it may not be as popular as the media makes it seem to be.
I saw On The Road at a screening in Chicago. Chicago's a large, diverse, metropolitan city and people still walked out of the theater at the first notion of non-hetero sexual intimacy.
It made me wonder if society is evolved enough to accept what they do not understand. Or, do they merely tolerate and grin about it so they don't come off as politically incorrect in front of the wrong liberal? It's popular to say that every person deserves respect, but is the notion of giving this respect too far-fetched when it involves what has been regarded as taboo based on religious or baseless personal revulsion?
One of the greatest parts of this country is the fact that it was founded on freedom from religious persecution, and that goes for more than just protestants. This country is a cultural salad bowl, so why can't all parts of it just simply be accepted?