It’s been dubbed as the kiss seen round the world and compared to the famous 1940s photo of the sailor and nurse in times square, but just the mere fact that gay military members can now greet their boyfriends/girlfriends/partners/spouses the same as any other couple in a relationship is another reason why it gets better.
Recall that it was just five months ago that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy prohibited gay military members form serving openly was still in place. Scenes like this could not have happened in public and when they did happen in private the celebration had to be very, very careful. Now, gays and lesbians meet their loved ones and correspond with them openly while on duty. No longer do gays and lesbians have to hide in the military. They can be open about who they are.
The sheer joy that is expressed in photos like this one and that of the Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, and her girlfriend, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell who kissed back in December also has the opportunity to touch hearts and change minds. Many military partners and the public at large know how hard it is to be away from someone that you love; they are able to connect personally with that relief and surge of happiness when that loved one returns. The photo of these two military same-sex couples is that experience exemplified. Seeing scenes like this is can help to create empathy among the general community at large. It’s something tangeable that opposite-sex military partners can look at and say to themselves ‘I know what that’s like.’ That’s a very powerful emotion and one that has the ability to help make it better.
Add to that the fact that gays and lesbians had to hide emotions and experiences like this for so long and you have an added layer of emotion on to it. People will begin to think how tough it must have been to not be able to express any of the fear, relief, joy for your military partner. They will ask themselves ‘Could I have done it?’ This type of self-analysis is what helps make people more empathetic and sympathetic to our community.