The Prom’s same-sex kiss offers a more inclusive future

A kiss between two women on Macy's Thanksgiving Parade overcomes critics

The performance was groundbreaking because of its same-sex kiss.

Every year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City invites the hottest new Broadway musicals to perform a number that’s broadcast live on national television. This year, one of these shows, The Prom, sparked controversy by featuring the first LGBTQ+ kiss in the parade’s 92-year history. 

The Prom, a new musical comedy on Broadway, tells the story of Emma, a student in small-town America whose high school cancels prom after she asks to bring her girlfriend. In the musical number “Time to Dance,” Emma and her girlfriend, Alyssa, kiss each other. 

When that scene appeared in the parade, some viewers were upset.

Many took to Twitter to express their displeasure, arguing the kiss wasn’t appropriate for children and pushed the LGBTQ+ agenda. Some wondered how they’d explain the display of affection to their children.

Conservative news outlet For America denounced the performance on their Twitter, condemning NBC and Macy’s for “[pushing] their agenda on little kids.” Their tweet received over 11,000 likes and 32,000 responses, many of which shamed For America.

Since the performance, The Prom cast has been criticized for taking part in the performance. Supporting actor Josh Lamon said his Thanksgiving weekend was “filled with death threats,” and the show had to increase its security.

Despite the backlash, Macy’s held strong to their values, with producer Susan Tercero telling EW the company is guided by “acceptance, respect, integrity, and giving back,” and hopes everyone enjoyed the parade.

Those who expressed displeasure for a four-second kiss between two women on national television are ignoring the enormous impact it could’ve had on young LGBTQ+ people. 

Queer content is often relegated to adult content, while family shows are filled with heterosexual couples. Young people who don’t identify as straight rarely see any examples of LGBTQ+ relationships in family-friendly media. 

The inclusion of two women kissing in a program as highly-viewed as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade helps normalize same-sex relationships for kids feeling isolated because of their sexuality. Networks never have to justify why heterosexual couples kiss on television, and LGBTQ+ couples should be held to the same standard.

Rather than being sexualized for its kiss, The Prom should be appreciated for focus on joy and love. The show works tirelessly to spread a message of acceptance. 

While the performance prompted plenty of homophobic reactions online, it also brought the LGBTQ+ community and its allies together in celebration of television and theatre’s increasing diversity and acceptance. 

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