Video: PDA

2 Gay Guys Walk Into a Sports Bar. Then What?

We’re in love with 20/20‘s approach to checking in on social norms. Using Milk and Prop 8 as a news peg (not exactly original, but whatever) the ABC news magazine hired a gay acting couple to play themselves in a hetero-y New Jersey sports bar and see how patrons reacted to their public affection. Generally, on-lookers fall into two categories: 1) People who don’t care; 2) People who are repulsed. (The control group: A pair of hetero actors in another area of the bar also showing affection.) And what happens when another planted actor tries to stir up a little anti-gay rhetoric?

But you tell us: Do you like seeing overt PDA between any couple, gay or straight?

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  • Jon B

    Really, you thought those were the two groups that people fell into? Many more people stood up for the couple than looked disgusted, especially after the planted bigot started in on them. One girl even bitched the dude out and left the bar! I thought the segment was pretty encouraging. Of course, it was in NJ. I’m not sure it would have turned out the same way in Kansas or Nebraska, or lately even parts of California (I’m looking at you Orange County).

    Please change the format?!?!

  • dgz

    i was encouraged as well; the defenders were admirably outspoken. of course, the pda was pretty tame — i’m a wee bit grossed out by *any* two people completely sucking face in public. all in all, a fun experiment in journalism.
    @Jon B:
    you can revert to the old format by clicking a link about halfway down the front page.

  • whl

    happy to see this would be for 20/20 to reach many people

  • Scout

    being chronically single pda irks me for *anyone* or incredibly obvious PDA or like making out in public.
    But they also did kind of go to great lengths to make the gay actors incredibly obvious. I mean…balloons? I’ve never seen anyone bring balloons to a bar.
    But all in all, it was good to see some people standing up for them. And what did they expect the jackass to say with cameras on him? Of course your average bigot is going to change his story in a situation like that.

  • scott

    I’ll give the the bigoted dude credit. He allowed his face to be shown on camera.

    This is encouraging. I’m a bit surprised. I mean, just last night I heard a few kids on the train (NYC) saying these comments, “what are you a homo? I’m homophobic. You’re gay,” to each other, referencing Kanye West (rolls eyes). So, hearing adults come to the gay couple’s defense. Yeah, that’s pretty good.

  • Gin

    I agree that Queerty’s blurb on this fails to reflect the overall very encouraging results from this experiment.

    I personally loved the tough Jersey guy (black baseball cap) who barked at the homophobe (actor, planted as part of the experiment) to shut up or leave. Also loved the women who really got in the face of the test homophobe, to the point they literally ran the ‘phobe out of the bar.

    I was pleasantly shocked by the results of this experiment.

  • RM

    @Jon B: You give OC too little credit. Sure, the politicians are the definition of doucehbags (with some exceptions–e.g., Lorreta Sanchez).

    But I think even most prop 8 voters don’t like the harassing behavior used in the show.

  • ChristopherJ

    New Jersey, bastion of homophobia. Really? Try this a few more miles from New York and Vermont and see what happens.

  • GayIsTheWay

    My Critique
    * ABC did NOT preview this segment at the beginning of the show. Every other segment had a preview except the gay one.

    * I’m pleased most people minded their own business or were supportive.

    * The vast majority of gay bashings/ violence/ harassment are at the hands of HETEROSEXUALS (usually male) under the age of thirty. The average age of the customers in this bar was well over thirty. The most vocal anti-gay person in the bar was around thirty.

    * People might have kept quiet because the bartender was serving the male couple. That might have set the tone for people not to comment.

    * Anti-gay bigotry is often subtle. Although most didn’t say anything to the couple they might very well take away gay people’s rights behind a voting booth curtain. Some gay man said years ago that “A f*ggot is a gay man that walks out the door.”

    * I applaud the male couple and those that stood up to bigotry especially that woman that got emotional and left the bar.

  • jeffrey bryan

    @Jon B: Why’d you have to go dissing OC? Are there some really stupid people who live here… absolutely. But it’s not nearly as bad as you would be led to believe. Last fall I was protesting Prop 8 blocks from Rick Warren’s church and for every asshole yelling “Fag” we had a dozen people honking their horns, smiling, and waving in support.

  • Jason in WV

    I have to agree that it is inspirational, but I wonder how that would play out in a more rural area – or a more religious area like Bible-belt Alabama.

    Nice to hear that “tolerance is an American value” – when the hell is it going to take?

  • Michael vdB

    Wow. I am impressed. Bravo.

  • Alan

    I walked into work this morning and my VERY LDS boss told me to watch this segment. She told me how much she appreciated how this made her and especially her husband re-think their views on what its like to be gay and to receive both acceptance and discrimination on a daily basis. Her husband had the conclusion that it must be hard to live life not being fully yourself like everyone else is able to just to save yourself from harrassment. I found that having a show like this make people re-think their stance on being gay to be refreshing and gives me hope that people aren’t only able to change but in fact are actually changing.

  • sal

    needed this!!!!gosh i wanna leave this country :(

  • rogue dandelion

    @Jason in WV: we will have to wait for bruno for that

  • dfrw

    I was happy to see the report, but I wish reporters and everyone else would dispense with the “gay lifestyle.” I want to cringe every time I hear it.

  • epluribusunumjk

    I think this was pretty insight. My boyfriend and I are never afraid to show affection though – we always kiss each other and hold hands in public.

    I live in a pretty “red” area of cook county in Illinois, but I guess people here may be more accepting than in other traditionally “red” areas. Nonetheless, this show did that segment on gay PDA in Birmingham, AL, which showed that most people are accepting too.

  • Rob W.

    Pfft. Most were supportive, yeah, but it was the blue blue east coast. Try this in Lubbock, Texas. Someone will get hurt.

  • JP

    interesting report! i’m definitely inspired by the support some of the bar-goers gave. I’ve gone to many gay bars (i’m a heterosexual female) and when I see other gay couples embracing, I can’t help but smile and be happy for them!

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