Social Question

AnonymousWoman's avatar

When you see two guys holding hands, do you assume they are gay no matter what?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6523points) March 18th, 2012

I am asking because my 18-year-old brother wants to know. Our father is blind and he says he feels embarrassed holding his hand in public. He says people look at him and our Dad weirdly when that happens, but that our Dad doesn’t have to deal with seeing those stares because he is blind.

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27 Answers

Mamradpivo's avatar

Your brother should grow up.

If it helps your dad to hold his hand, do it. I assume he’s probably wearing dark glasses, so most people will figure out what’s going on right now. And why is your brother concerned that people may think he’s gay anyway?

AnonymousWoman's avatar

^ No, my Dad doesn’t wear dark glasses. It’s not obvious to everyone my Dad is blind. There are at least two people who have confided in me that they hadn’t even realized that he is when he talked to them. As for why my brother is concerned about people viewing him as gay, that is something he would know. I do know that he asked me to ask this question on a Q&A site, though, because he is too embarrassed to ask it publicly on one himself.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have to say @AnonymousGirl at 18 your brother should be showing more consideration for his father who needs his help and be less concerned that someone might think he is gay. So what if they do? Would that really be so terrible? More terrible would be him not helping your father to get about.

cookieman's avatar

He is simply being an immature eighteen-year-old. Which may or may not be redundant.

He needs to get over himself and focus on helping his dad.

MrItty's avatar

If your brother is more concerned with complete strangers thinking he might be gay than he is with assisting his own father…. your brother has problems. And so what if people did think he’s gay? How would that impact his life in any way?

elbanditoroso's avatar

You know, it is so common nowadays that I don’t even notice it any more.

chyna's avatar

If I spotted a younger guy holding the hand or arm of an older man, my first thought is that the older man must need help. Your brother is just immature and self conscience as guys that age tend to be.

jca's avatar

Teens are self conscious. He can hold your dad’s arm which might guide him better anyway.

serenade's avatar

Yeah, I disagree with the sentiments above. While it would be great if this young man could simply roll with it, the fact is that he’s having to compromise his developing identity at a time when it is, well… developing. On top of that, he sounds pretty shy.

Surely there are other ways of guiding his dad other than holding hands. Coincidentally, I bet these other ways would telegraph the fact that dad is blind and that what the son is doing is leading him. Why can’t this be a change? And, why can’t the dad carry one of those sticks?

Your brother needs some leeway on this one. He’s not abandoning your dad. He just also has specific needs. Your dad should understand and try to accommodate.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I learned not to assume things a long time ago. You’re brother is a typical 18 year old. Trying to be a man but not quite out of being a boy. Been there, done that.

prioritymail's avatar

I read the question, and thought, “Uh, yeah, of course, I can’t think of any situation where two men holding hands would be straight!” Then I clicked on the link. OOOhhhhhhhhhhh. Perhaps if it were two people of very different ages, I would be less likely to make the assumption. Thinking back to when I was that age, probably all of my guy friends would be uncomfortable with holding another dude’s hand, maybe especially if the dude was their father. Yeah he’s 18, but it still can be an awkward age. And let’s be honest, the sad reality is not everyone is so accepting of gay people. I’m sure there is a kind way to handle this that makes everyone happy.

jca's avatar

I don’t see blind people led by the hand, I see them led by the arm. Tell him he might benefit by leading dad from the arm. He’ll also likely be less self conscious, then, too.

AmWiser's avatar

Normally I would assume the guys holding hands were gay (no big deal), but after this post I will give hand holders the benefit of the doubt. Also I hope your brother is not trying to find an excuse for not having to take his father anywhere.:-]

Aster's avatar

I would always assume two guys holding hands are gay unless one is obviously blind or crippled.

Sunny2's avatar

I think the preferred way of helping blind people get to where they need to go is to have the blind person take the arm of the person guiding. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Don’t be bothered about what people say or think. Those who have any brain cells will understand and not judge…... please go ahead and do what you have to and don’t worry about idiotic people, they are not the ones having to deal with it!

MissAnthrope's avatar

Before I clicked on this question, my thought was ‘Yes, unless there is something to indicate otherwise…’ and I think, in this case, I would be able to figure out that there was some health or medical concern. I mean, two men holding hands publicly is not exactly a common occurrence.. so, my assumption would be that they have a close relationship—that is not necessarily sexual. Family would be my next thought.

You can’t just tell someone who is self-conscious ‘who cares what other people think?’ because they care and it’s not so easy to just stop. It takes some work and building one’s self-confidence to the point where they realize, from somewhere inside, that it doesn’t matter what John Doe on the street thinks.

Would he care if a random stranger thought he was Russian? Or a sea captain? Or a railroad tycoon? Those are all things that your brother is not, like being gay. So who cares really? Someone might stare or look at you funny, but you know what? They’ll be out of your life forever in a matter of moments. So, their opinion matters not at all.

Perhaps your brother can manage to spin his self-consciousness over the weird looks into a pride for being a real man and helping his blind father, then it would feel good instead of bad.

augustlan's avatar

I remember being a teen girl, and telling my mother she had to stop trying to hold my hand at the mall (and, no, she wasn’t blind), because people couldn’t tell she was my mother. Silly, but there ya’ go. Teens are often silly. Of course, this was over 25 years ago, too. In this day and age, I don’t think people are as likely to make negative judgments about same-sex hand holding.

If it bothers your brother, it bothers him, right or wrong. I agree with others who have suggested leading by the arm as a solution to the issue.

jca's avatar

I think people should lighten up on the son. Teens are self conscious (hello? that’s why they’re so into clothes and trends) and we can’t tell someone how to feel (or how not to feel).

Buttonstc's avatar

I would assume that they’re either gay or European, but so what. With the difference in ages, I’d much more likely think that they’re Father and son and from a foreign culture ( perhaps Italian or Greek) or anyplace else which isn’t as severely homophobic as the US. ,

But ive always been under the impression that most blind people prefer go hold the elbow of the person who is guiding them. I’m not quite sure why but that has always been the way ive thought of it. Perhaps I heard someone like Tom Sullivan or another blind person speaking about it being less awkward in an interview or something.

Anyhow, perhaps the Dad would be willing to accommodate his son this way until he matures a bit. But perhaps someone could have a little talk with the teen so he realizes that these are just random strangers who have zero impact on his life.

rooeytoo's avatar

I thought you were not to take the hand of a blind person, rather to allow them to rest their hand on your elbow so they can follow you.

I don’t really blame your brother, he is not doing it to hurt your dad, he is just trying to avoid being labeled by an innocent action.

The kid shouldn’t be judged, he is trying to find his own way in life, whether he can see or not. A time will come when he probably doesn’t give a damn what others may think but he is not there yet. I am surprised that most are judging him so harshly.

And it would seem to me, if he explained his feelings to his dad, he should understand as well.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I think I would be able to tell the difference between two people just holding hands out of affection and two people holding hands because one is helping another due to a disability and so, I am sure that it is obvious to those around that your brother is helping your dad.

mattbrowne's avatar

“Holding hands is a form of physical intimacy involving two or more people. It may or may not be sexual. Whether friends hold hands depends on culture and gender. The custom of men holding hands can cause discomfort in societies unused to it, as it did with Americans, when, in 2005, then Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia held hands in public with then American president George W Bush.”

“Holding hands is the warmest expression of affection between men,” said Samir Khalaf, a sociology professor at American University of Beirut in Lebanon. “It’s a sign of solidarity and kinship.”

In fact, if a man chooses not to touch another in a greeting, it can be interpreted as a sign of distance or disdain. Kissing cheeks, long handshakes and clutching hands are meant to reflect amity, devotion and most important, equality in status, noted Fuad Ishak Khuri, a social anthropologist.

“Arab culture has historically been segregated, so emotions and feelings are channeled to the same sex,” said Musa Shteiwi, a sociology professor at the University of Jordan. “Men spend a lot of time together, and these customs grew out of that.”

But as the Arab world changes, so do the customs. With growing urbanization and increased contact between the sexes, Professor Shteiwi noted, such gestures are slowly becoming dated. It’s rare to see men holding hands in a city like Beirut, where the sexes mingle openly, though it is still commonplace in Saudi Arabia and other countries where sex segregation remains strong.

downtide's avatar

No, it’s plainly easy to see the difference between affection and guiding someone. IN any case the proper way to guide a blind person is to let them hold your arm, not your hand.

prioritymail's avatar

Yeah, maybe to you and me. But maybe other people only see what they want to see, and maybe they don’t like what they see. That would still leave the kid enduring cruel stares, and maybe this isn’t as much about what other people think as how the boy perceives it, considering his age.

It’s true that other cultures perceive hand holding differently than Americans. That’s a great point. But on the other hand, I;m guessing the OP is in the U.S.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

^ We live in Canada.

josie's avatar

No. I figure they are either gay or blind.

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