Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left, kisses her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va. Gaeta’s ship returned from 80 days at sea on Wednesday. (Photo by Brian J. Clark/The Virginian-Pilot/AP)
If you haven’t heard this story, it’s pretty awesome. Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta had been out to sea for the last 80 days, she returned today. It’s custom for the Navy folk to buy raffle tickets for the chance to have the first kiss with their loved one. In this case, all money went to provide a Christmas party for the children of the navy personnel. Gaeta only bought 50 tickets (at $1 each) which is much less than some people buy and she just happened to win.
What I like about the whole incident is that it’s so understated. It’s an historic moment in that it’s the first time (the Navy says) since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed that two women were photographed (in uniform no less) kissing.
At the same time it’s ironic in that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was designed to keep gays and lesbians from serving (whether explicitly stated or not) and these two Navy women have been in a relationship for two years, long before DADT was repealed.
I also really like the fact that it was completely by chance these two women got the opportunity to make history. Which is not what they were going for anyway. Gaeta probably bought the tickets thinking “gee I hope I win so I can be the first one to kiss my significant other that I haven’t seen in 80 days,” not “gee I hope I can make history today by being the first lesbian to kiss my girlfriend in public in uniform.”
I can’t speak for them, but that’s all I want as well. I want to be able to walk down any street I want holding Marianne’s hand and not have people think I’m making a statement.
Because I’m not.