If you blinked, you probably missed it. But in the Danny-Boyle-produced Olympics opening ceremony that was full of British history and symbolism, the half-second that meant most to us was this.
Photo courtesy of Channel 4
The scene was so brief that most of the women I watched with didn’t see it. After a half dozen tries to freeze it to make sure that it was, indeed, two women kissing, we gave up and waited for the internet to confirm. Sure enough, the scene was from British soap Brookside — and it was most definitely a lesbian kiss.
In case you didn’t watch the ceremonies, here’s the context. As part of the overall theme of Britain’s important contributions to history, the storyline about the digital age featured two teenagers, Frankie and June, who fell in like via text message. As the two kids kissed for the first time, a video on the huge screen showed famous movie and TV kisses, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Lady and the Tramp. The Brookside clip — Beth Jordache (Anna Friel) and Margaret Clemence’s (Nicola Stephenson) first smooch — was right in the middle.
A viewer with special remote skills captured the moment amidst rumors that NBC had edited out the clip. (NSFW for s-word.)
The clip itself is significant because it was the first lesbian kiss on pre-watershed British television, which, for the Yanks among us, means that it aired early in the evening and was considered suitable for all ages to watch. Here’s the original kiss (hat tip to @aacogz for finding one without the juvenile sound effects).
Most countries that aired the opening ceremonies did not censor the video and the half-second became the first gay kiss ever on TV in many countries — including Saudi Arabia and 76 other countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Sure, it’s a tiny moment. But history is made of tiny moments. And seeing this one did my lesbian heart good. Thank you, Mr. Boyle.