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Europe Lets People in to See Loved Ones–But Only If They Are Having Sex August 16, 2020

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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Apparently this is a thing that exists: the “Love Is Not Tourism” campaign, whose pinned Tweet reads:

Binational couples and families have been separated for almost half a year due to Covid-19 travel bans. Help us reunite them!

Normally I’d write this Twitter account off as some regressive, small-minded Tweeter not worth my time, but unfortunately, Forbes is taking them seriously, and so are many European countries. According to the Forbes article, countries are developing various policies allowing people to reunite despite travel bans. The problem? Every policy favors romantic relationships over non-romantic relationships.  

Regarding the implementation of these waivers, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs tweeted that states should use  “as wide a definition of partnerships as possible”. This sounds very noble and inclusive, until you realize that the definition is not inteded to expand wider than romantic relationships, which essentially means people who are having committed sex, or people who have committed to having committed sex in the future.  Note: romantic love does not always incorporate sex; asexual people can have romantic relationships. But for the purposes of the “Love Is Not Tourism” campaign, romantic relationships are by default sexual. For this post, I will call them sexantic relationships. 

Weird and arbitrary qualifying parameters reveal just how entrenched our worship of sexantic love is. In the Netherlands, the relationship must go back a whole three months in order for it to qualify as legit. (But if COVID has separated you from a close friend of twenty years, TOUGH SHIT.) Norway has higher standards–they require their romcom recruits to have been together a whole nine months, and they must have “met in person at least once” prior to COVID. The Netherlands takes it up a notch and requires the pair to have seen each other at least two times. Because, standards. 

The Forbes article features a photo of an Austrian couple kissing behind a sign that says “We dared.” Yeah, good for you. You know who else dared? That grocery store clerk who showed up to work because they have to endanger their life to feed themselves (and you). That nurse.  All janitorial staff anywhere (. The single parent who has lost childcare. The single worker who can’t mooch of their spouse’s health insurance (or anyone else’s).  Special privileges and consideration should go to these people, not to some pathetic couple who haven’t individuated enough to be able to survive a whole six months (gasp!) without being in the same physical space. You know what exists? Zoom and phone and email and text and sex toys. You know who uses those? People separated by COVID who are in loving or important relationships that are not necessarily sexantic. 

We all have to make sacrifices during the pandemic. If your biggest #pandemicproblem is “Gee, I really miss my sexantic/romantic partner,” then YOU NEED TO CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE. NOW. 

The “Love Is Not Tourism” account tags their home page with #LoveIsEssential.  A more accurate hashtag would be #RomanticLoveIsEssential. And an even more accurate hashtag would be #ThisIsARegressiveSmallMindedIdea. 

–Christina

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