Ken Woodington, whose husband Bryan is in the US Navy won a raffle to get the "First Kiss" extended to naval spouses when their sailor gets back into port.
Over the past week, the world has watched the spectacle of a viral photo of a same sex couple recreating the iconic GI kiss as part of a Naval tradition.
It apparently caused an uproar with the anti gay folk, who dont seem to be able to remember that Gay Marriage is not only legal but just a regular part of life in the States.
Naturally, our correspondent Karrissa Wade was right on it.
The following is her interview with Ken Woodington, the husband of sailor Bryan Woodington, of the USS Sullivans. He is the one being kissed in a photograph modeled after this famous image from WW2.
Karrissa Wade: Ken, tell us about the kiss.
Ken Woodington: Well, a lot of back history that. There is a raffle that the Family Readiness Group, (which I like to call the Navy spouse meetings) sponsors a raffle while the sailors are on deployment.
The raffle is the First Kiss,--which means the first person off the ship to get the kiss.
And I had been putting in money every month, and I won.
So basically it meant that Bryan would get off the ship first.
So he told me about the first kiss and he told me "You should wear all white, and I'm going to be wearing my dress blues."
I showed up, and I was-- he'd been gone for seven months, so I haven't seen him that long.-- So when I saw him get off the ship, I literally dropped the sign that I made, dropped my coat, and I just ran to him, and then he dipped me and kissed me. And the thing about with the dip part was that he did that when he started dating and I loved that because I've never had anybody do that to me before. So the kiss and the dipping is just something that we've always done when we're at home dancing or just playing around and stuff. So it's just funny how the kiss has gone viral as much as it has gone.
Karrissa Wade: Now you guys have been married a year, and so he's been gone seven months out of the year pretty much? That has to be hard.
Ken Woodington: Yes. Yeah, it is. I always say it's not easy. Every spouse would tell you that they know what they signed up for, but honestly, it's really hard. I mean for the other spouses, they have kids. We don't have kids, so I'm literally by myself. And I have my friends, and they were there with me - my coworkers as well, they were with me - but it is hard because there's very, very little communication, and very much talking to each other, so yeah, it was hard. It really was hard. I mean, it was a seven-month. He missed Thanksgiving, he missed a lot of fun little things that we like to do, so yeah, it was hard.
Karrissa Wade: Well, now I'm sure you've seen a lot of articles and stuff with you guys in it. Now, has there been a lot of threats and things along those lines? Because it seemed a lot of the people who are acting so asinine on here for some of the different threads-- how is that affecting you guys?
Ken Woodington: It's not affecting us that much. I will say that I'm really shocked at some of the negative comments that we've seen, especially from the international publications, but it's not affecting us too much. I'm just like, "It's just a kiss. It's not like we're doing anything inappropriate or derogatory." You know what I mean? So [crosstalk]--
Karrissa Wade: Right. It's not like you're doing naked synchronized swimming or anything like that, you know?
Ken Woodington: Right. It's not like I-- I don't think that I-- I have to say, that's what I'm really puzzled about, is-- sorry. What I'm really puzzled about is that we're just kissing. We're not doing anything inappropriate. That's what I have a problem-- I don't have a problem with it, that's what I'm confused about, is what the have to be negative about.
Karrissa Wade: Now, do you think a lot of it has to do with the typical normalization of bigotry that we are seeing coming from the Administration? It seems like hatred and negativity and being able to say racial comments and all these different things seem to be more rampant now during this go around.
What are your thoughts?
Ken Woodington: I feel that everybody has their own opinion to everything, and that doesn't really bother me too much. I honestly think one of the reasons why the [wes?] is a big deal is because number one, we're both interracial, and he's in the navy, and we did somewhat create an iconic hit that is in history, so-- and on top of that, the history of that, the guy that's in that iconic picture, he was actually on the ship that my husband Bryan is on, many years ago. But as for people's comments about it, like I said, it is their opinion and at the end of the day, everybody's entitled to their own opinion. But it doesn't bother me, it was just-- it doesn't bother me to where I'm-- I've said already I just get-- I'm just confused and shocked that it's become a big thing
Karrissa Wade: You work with special needs, and he's in the navy. How are your jobs handling it? Are they okay with the momentary celebrity?
Ken Woodington: Well, as for his job, the Navy supports us.
I mean, everybody is really cool with it. As for my job, as of now, yes, everybody is-- and what I mean by as of now is I have not heard anything bad about it, but I don't think it would hurt my job at all.
Karrissa Wade: So that's good.
Ken Woodington: My job is totally different, and I don't think it would be a big deal. And just like with the Navy, the Navy supports Bryan and the Navy supports me, and they support everything, so we have a lot of support from both of our jobs.
Karrissa Wade: It's really incredible how much we've grown as a society in that aspect, isn't it?
Ken Woodington: Yes. And to be honest with you, after we did the local news interview, the Yahoo interview, the Navy has been a great support, especially-
The Navy itself, Mayport, and his ship have all been great support to him and to me, and backing us up and supporting us. And it's good to have that just because it shows people that hey, we're fine, we're all great with it. You know what I mean?
Karrissa Wade: Absolutely. Now, you guys definitely broke the internet with the kiss. How are you holding up with the local celebrity status you guys are getting?
Ken Woodington: To be honest with you, we're honestly living our lives. I mean, no one really has run up to us. A lot of people do not even know if that's us. I mean, [crosstalk]--
Karrissa Wade: They didn't run up to you last night at the Metro for New Year's?
Ken Woodington: Oh no, they did [laughter]. Well, the thing is, they didn't run up-- when we walked into Metro, they did not recognize us, but I saw the owner of Metro, and he was the one that announced us, and we recreated it last night after the ball dropped for 2018, so people ran up to us then. But like I said, not many people have been running up to us out in the days, actually, because I think people just don't know that it's us because again, I'm not wearing all white and he's not in his uniform. So--
Karrissa Wade: Right, exactly. And you're not running around just constantly kissing one another.
Ken Woodington: Right [laughter]. He's not dipping me all over Jacksonville, so yeah.
Karrissa Wade: Right. So how are you going to top this kiss for the next big spotlight event? Or are you guys just going to go on with your life and enjoy it?
Ken Woodington: I will admit that we both are liking how viral this has gone. I mean, at the end of the day, we saw today-- I mean yesterday we found out we were on People.com, People Magazine. We found out we were on CBS a few minutes ago, CNN, and it's become viral, as you said. And honestly, we are happy that we get to show our love for each other to everybody and show what two people who are in love with each other-- and just showing how happy we are with each other. So I think what the picture, in my opinion, has shown is that yes, love is love, but there is such thing as love out there. You know what I mean? In a time where we may not feel love, it's nice to see that out there. I recently got a Facebook message from a woman who is battling cancer right now, and our picture was what made her keep going and fighting harder, and she was telling me that her cousin and her husband-- I mean that her cousin and his husband are getting divorced, and she said it was sad, but it was good to see that there's more love out there. And I think that's kind of what I want to take away from this experience is that-- is that we're showing love, and we're showing two people in love, and two people who really care for each other. Despite the iconic kiss that we've created, despite the fact that what we do for our careers, it's showing that. And as people say, I'll take it wherever, but I mean if it doesn't go anywhere after this, I'm totally fine, and he is as well. We're just being ourselves and we're just being us, and that's what that picture shows, and I'm happy with that.
Karrissa Wade: Well, I think at the end of the day, too, the greatest thing about it-- it shows love is love, whether you're an interracial couple, gay, straight, or whatever, you're a couple--and just that. You're a couple. Well, I appreciate you taking time to talk to me and stuff about today. Go enjoy y'all's day together, and hopefully, we'll see you out and about Jacksonville as well. And good luck with everything.
Ken Woodington: Thank you so much for the time and opportunity, and thank you for hearing my side of the story, and thank you.
Karrissa Wade: Absolutely. Take care. Bye-bye.
You too. Bye
Karrissa T. Wade is a wickedly funny, highly involved community activist for LGBTQI issues. She has been a regular contributor for print and digital media nationwide, and we are proud to have her here at the Celebrity Cafe.
A title holding pageant figure, she is known for her witty, over the top comedic performances and extensive charity work across the US. A consumate performer, she is an active television figure, (appearing as guest, anchor and lead roles) Karrissa has also been involved in the Cabaret community for the past 25 years, touring the country.
As a charity fundraiser, she has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, and has been involved in HIV awareness and outreach since the early 90s.
"We have two hands: One for helping ourselves, and the other for helping others. Do your part."