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Another Casualty of Homophobia: Platonic Male Affection

"On a trip to southern Spain a few years ago, my partner and I were invited to a friend’s home for Shabbat dinner. As we were seated at the table, our host, a maternal and physically affectionate gay man, continually petted us as he brought fragrant Sephardic food to the table. This is common among gay men and thus did not surprise me. But to this day I remember how my body froze when the other guest—a quiet but warm straight man—rose from his seat, picked up a kippah, gently placed it on my head, and patted the back of my neck. His platonic touch was totally nonchalant for him, and yet it electrified me—not because I found it erotic, but because, at that moment, I realized how rare that kind of fraternal male touch had been in my life. Straight men weren’t supposed to express affection this way."

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