Mexico: Public display of affection

Gayly columnist Bruce Hartly (l) with his partner Bill in Mexico. Photo provided.

by Professor Bruce Hartley

Life Columnist

During a recent cruise to Mexico, my partner Bill and I encountered something that I had not encountered yet in my life.

Last year we went on the exact same cruise and it was our first cruise vacation as partners. Bill and I were comfortable walking around the ship holding hands and noticing that people looked at us like we were some type of the “entertainment.” Everyone on the ship smiled and visited with us and it was nice to not feel like we were being judged while vacationing. During one of our ports, we participated in an excursion called Salsa and Salsa. We joined a group of people (adults and children) who learned how to make a variety of salsas, margaritas and learned how to dance the Salsa. Everyone at the excursion was kind and we were voted the “Most Fun” for the day. I highly recommend this excursion!

This year was a little different. It surprised us, because we went on the exact same cruise ship and had the same two days/locations for port, but the experience was different. During our first day of port in Progresso, we went with a group to an all-exclusive beach for the day. While there we enjoyed unlimited food and alcohol. After being there for a few hours, we were both a little tipsy and were in the swimming pool with nine other people from our group cruise. We were all laughing, drinking and soaking up the sun.

Then it happened. Bill and I started hugging and we kissed a few times. After a few minutes, the manager from the resort came over to us and tapped me on the shoulder. He started yelling at me in Spanish. I was shocked and had to draw on my junior high Spanish knowledge to understand what he was saying.

After telling him I couldn’t understand him, it dawned on me that he was telling me to not hug and kiss in the pool, because the resort was a family resort with small boys and two men kissing was not allowed. As a father of two, that made me feel awful. I didn’t think we were doing anything inappropriate that I would not do in from of my own kids. We were in a pool with a swim up bar, which should have been a place for adults only. Kids should not have been anywhere near the pool bar. We were careful for the rest of the day so we would not get kicked out or arrested.

This example from our day in Mexico made me think about how tolerance and acceptance is different depending on culture. Yes, in the United States of America things are getting better for acceptance and tolerance, but in many other countries it is not so. I am excited to have celebrated Pride 2015 in my home town of Springfield, Missouri this year and I am looking forward to the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality.

After the USA grants marriage equality, we cannot stop the campaign to see marriage equality worldwide. I am hoping that in my lifetime, I can travel worldwide and be able to hug and kiss my partner Bill without being told to stop. If a man and woman can kiss and hug in public, I want the same right. I will keep holding Bill’s hand in public and kissing whenever I want. I am proud of my year and half relationship. I hope you celebrated Pride 2015 wherever you live and know together we will win.

Next summer Bill and I are cruising to the Bahamas. Stay tuned to hear if we get in trouble again!

Published - The Gayly -  7/17/2015 at 2:46pm CST