In a story that reminds us of the Gay Day Hugging incident at Canada’s Wonderland, a gay couple was told that holding hands in a London supermarket was “behaving inappropriately.”
Earlier this month, Thomas Rees and his boyfriend Joshua Bradwell were shopping at a Sainsbury’s in Brighton when a security guard approached the couple and asked them to follow him outside.
Buzzfeed reported on the incident with quotes from the couple:
At first he thought they had accidentally stolen something, “because we were made to feel like criminals”.
“My boyfriend and I became aware we were being watched,” Rees said. “We were holding hands, arms around each other’s waists, basically showing public displays of affection.
“As we came to pay for our shopping I noticed a security guard watching us. Once we had paid, he then approached us and asked us to follow him outside.”
Rees had this to say on Twitter:
To the bigot who complained about my bf & I holdin hands & the security guard at @sainsburys who felt the need to 'talk' to us outside🖕🏻
— Thomas Rees (@_thomasrees) August 8, 2016
Following the incident, the supermarket offered the couple a £10 gift card as an apology, but Rees believes that the Sainsbury’s location should instead focus on diversity training.
In response to the discriminatory incident, a “kissathon” protest took place at the supermarket on Sunday. According to The Guardian about 200 people showed up with rainbow flags and speakers blasting Diana Ross and Donna Summer.
The aisles were soon filled with hundreds of same-sex couples proudly and opening kissing.
Both of the men were touched by the out-pouring of support from the local LGBT community:
“When your community come behind and say ‘you were right and you are right’, all that does is amplify your feelings. We were right to complain and do what we’ve done and fight those people who said we were wrong.”
“Both of us have received messages from people around the world who don’t even have the courage to hold hands, let alone stand up against something like this. You have to do so.”
You can watch video from the gay kiss-in protest below.