Yesterday Daniel and I went out dancing at Waltz & etcetera, a weekly dance held at the Lake City Community Center. They play half waltzes and half other dance music (cha-cha, 2-step, etc).
We got there around 8:30p and danced for about an hour and a half non-stop. Daniel did most of the leading, having much more ballroom dance experience than I, although I did swing him around the dance floor with a country waltz and the occasional 2-step. Unsurprisingly, he’s a great lead and I mostly held my own as a follow.1
Four separate individuals came up to us between sets and thanked us for coming and said that it was good to have us. At least two people commented that we were great dancers — and I admit we held our own quite well. We were probably the youngest couple there; and also the only gay one.2
The whole thing was a bit surreal to me. I go out dancing not infrequently but always at a gay bar. The only times I’ve ever been dancing with a guy in public beyond that were at post-wedding dances among friends. Walking into the venue I joked with Daniel that I hope we don’t get stoned (to which he quipped “just don’t take a drag if you get offered a smoke”). I wasn’t seriously expecting violence, but I had steeled myself for some expression of disapproval. Yet neither he or I saw even as much as an odd glance.
Apparently we’re here, we’re queer, and everyone but us got use to it.
Reflecting on it I realized that while I never live in fear being out with a guy in public, I live with the expectation that I won’t be readily accepted. The assumption that our presence will ruffle feathers. We gays do everyone, ourselves and others, an injustice with that assumption. We’ve moved past fear, now it’s time to move past our assumptions.
A big, big thanks to the wonderful folks out at Waltz & etcetera for making us feel welcome. I look forward to coming out again in the future.
1 Apparently ballroom waltzing is all about spinning. I’ve threatened to take a dramamine the next time we go.
2 At least the only obviously gay couple. We saw a few women dancing together for a song before changing partners, but that’s not uncommon.