There’s a very important point to be made about that video of Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello kissing
Many of the Twitter users who woke up today to a video of singers Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello kissing “like fish” all seem to have had the same thought.
But it’s a thought that, for LGBT+ people in particular, is of major importance.
The couple, who have been repeatedly snapped by fans and paparazzi kissing and cozying-up to one another in public, dropped a video in response to some comments on how they kiss.
“So, we saw on Twitter and stuff you guys saying stuff about the way we’re kissing and how it looks weird, like, we kiss like fish,” Shawn said in the Instagram video.
“So, we just wanted to show you how we really kiss,” Shawn continued, and the pair lock-lips, well, “like fish”.
And what Mendes and Cabello do defies description:
But the video caused something rarely seen on Twitter – agreement – as an array of LGBT+ Twitter users made the exact same point.
As one user eloquently put it: “Can you f***ing imagine if a gay couple did that.
“I’ll let you think of the homophobic comments and outrage.”
straight people: omg stop shoving your sexuality down our throats no one wants to see yall kissing it’s disgusting…
— ???????⛓was @/jiuchihan (@uzumakimwj) September 12, 2019
straight people: "i don't care if you're gay but you don't need to shove it in our faces all the time!!!"
also straight people: pic.twitter.com/UG41R0yjTR
— Louis Staples (@LouisStaples) September 12, 2019
Straight couples saying goodbye to each other in the street pic.twitter.com/Hp5qOegPAI
— Call Me By My @ (@NotAgainBen) September 12, 2019
Four in 10 American LGBTs are “somewhat afraid” of holding their partner’s hand in public.
Many folks were quick to point out the double standard that the video of Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, to them, typifies.
Which is how anti-LGBT people often resort to tired excuses, such as not wanting to see queer people holding hands or kissing on the streets in case children see it, while often not abiding by those standards themselves.
For queer people, everything can change the minute they kiss. Across the world, LGBT+ people cite verbal and physical violence when they engage in public displays of affection.
A handhold, a peck on the cheek or a Hollywood kiss – these are potent, political acts for LGBT+ people when such an act can be illegal.
This looks like those videos of straight people who complains about gay people holding hands or kissing in public but then they're out there posting shit like this, I get that it is a joke but it was totally unnecessary ?pic.twitter.com/hbram0RK5s
— Omar (@fallinallinkaty) September 12, 2019
While the freedom to kiss in public might not be top of an activists lists of concerns, the symbolic weight of the act is a heavy one.
A recent study in the UK found that, of 100,000 LGBT+ people surveyed, 68 percent reported that they avoided holding hands with a partner in public for fear of negative or violent responses.
Stateside is no different. Another study this year found that 41 percent of LGBT+ people are “somewhat afraid” of holding hands with a partner of the same gender – 16 percent said they are “very afraid”.
gay people cant even kiss in the street without getting looks but i have to see that shawn and camila vid on my tl smdh
— e m ? (@jeepers__) September 12, 2019
While the couple packing the PDA on Twitter timelines has birthed so many memes, it has become an unintended reminder of the challenges queer people continue to face.
While bills enshrining rights can be signed and queer characters flashed on TV screens, progress is still far off for a community that still fear simply kissing a partner in public.