LGBTQ people hold 'kiss-in' in a supermarket after a couple was ejected for holding hands

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'Big Gay Kiss-In' Protest Held for Homophobia at Hackney Sainsbury's


LONDON — Hundreds of LGBTQ people staged a kissathon in a London supermarket after a gay couple was reprimanded by a security guard for holding hands in store.

On Saturday, people gathered at Sainsbury's in Hackney, east London, to do something other than a spot of grocery shopping: they kissed en masse in an act of solidarity with the couple.

Last Monday, Thomas Rees and his boyfriend Joshua Bradwell were reprimanded by a security guard at the store after a customer complained about the couple's handholding.

According to Michael Segalov — who organised the "kiss-in" — the couple were told by a security guard that "holding hands was 'inappropriate,'and they'd need to stop right away or leave the store."

People take part in a mass "kissathon" in the aisles of a Sainsbury's Local store in Hackney, London, on Aug. 13.

People take part in a mass "kissathon" in the aisles of a Sainsbury's Local store in Hackney, London, on Aug. 13. Image: Steve Parsons/ PA Wire/Press Association Images

According to Segalov, people rallied in the store; dancing to disco music and drinking outside the store as they counted down until the kick-off.

"Suddenly we weren't just talking about homophobia, which is of course vital and necessary, but we were also talking about celebration, about empowerment and about defiance," wrote Segalov.

Thomas Rees (left) and Joshua Bradwell kiss in the aisles of Sainsbury's after they were ejected for holding hands.

Thomas Rees (left) and Joshua Bradwell kiss in the aisles of Sainsbury's after they were ejected for holding hands. Image: Steve Parsons/ PA Wire/Press Association Images

During the kiss-in, Rees and Bradwell took to a microphone and delivered an "emotional address," stating "no matter how you identify, or who you love, it's your human right to express that love as you see fit".

Drag queen Rodent Decay began the countdown, and after ten seconds, the mass kissing began inside the store, continuing out into the street.

"It's been a really great event and an important opportunity for the community to show their support," a spokesperson for Sainsbury's said in a statement emailed to Mashable.

"We do our best to make sure everyone feels welcome in our stores but occasionally we make mistakes. We are working hard to make sure lessons are learnt," the spokesperson continued.


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