A kiss-in protest is going to be held in UK supermarket Sainsbury’s in Hackney, London after a gay couple were told to stop ‘behaving inappropriately’ by holding hands.
Thomas Rees and his partner Josh was finished shopping when a guard came up and said someone had made a complaint about how they were acting this week.
They were only holding hands, but the guard told them they were ‘behaving inappropriately’ and had to leave.
Following the incident, a Sainsbury’s customer service operative offered the couple a single £10 gift card.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Gay Star News that it was a ‘huge mistake’ on their part.
‘We are very sorry for what happened as we do not tolerate discrimination in our stores,’ they said. ‘We will take the appropriate action once we’ve concluded our investigation’.
Many were angry about this, especially after a similar incident happened in 2014 when a lesbian couple were told to stop being affectionate in a Brighton store.
The supermarket chain claimed they would sort out their training to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.
Michael Segalov, the gay activist organizing the protest, said he was ‘incredibly frustrated’ by this week’s incident because the exact same thing happened less than two years.
When this happened last time we decided to organise a kiss in, and thousands of people turned up,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘It was incredibly empowering, and acted as a reminder to anyone who pushes and peddles hate that people have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to showing affection to people of any gender or sexuality.’
He added: ‘When hundreds of people descend on Sainsbury’s tomorrow in an act of defiance, a message will be sent to anyone who thinks it’s “inappropriate” to show affection to a person, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
‘We all know how hard it can be to summon the strength to walk through the streets, hold hands, kiss the person you love when all too often people are harassed, attacked and abused. This isn’t just about one security guard in one store, it’s about saying no to homophobia and discrimination in all its forms.
‘Please come down from 7:30pm tomorrow, else it’ll just be me snogging an aubergine in the fruit and veg aisle.’
Everyone is welcome to the kiss-in at 7.30pm at the Hackney Road Sainsbury’s tomorrow (13 August). The Facebook event is here.
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