Lesbian Couple Asked To Leave A Store For Kissing On National Coming Out Day

On Saturday (which was National Coming Out Day, making this story even more bleak), a lesbian couple was kicked out of a UK grocery store for sharing a “light kiss.” Ugh. Annabelle Paige, a Sussex University student, stopped by a Sainsbury’s store in Brighton with her girlfriend. A security guard approached the pair and told them they’d have to either stop showing affection or “take it outside” (though the store is still attempting to deny that the couple was actually asked to leave). Paige initially thought the woman was joking, because she’d never experienced such a thing and saw plenty of straight couples in the store being equally as affectionate. The security guard apologetically told Paige that she had received a complaint from a customer who saw Paige give her girlfriend the kiss. The customer said that she was worried for the safety of her child because the couple’s actions were “disgusting.”

Paige told The Times UK:

“That word, disgusting, it really resonated and shook me…I get that if another customer is uncomfortable that’s a bad thing … but the problem is the other customer was in the wrong and essentially being homophobic. The guard didn’t seem to understand that, I was absolutely humiliated.”

Sainsbury’s is trying to make good post haste. A rep for the store shared this apology with the Times:

“This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way. We have called Miss Paige to apologise and will be making a donation to a charity of her choice.”

Good thing Sainsbury’s management at least claims not to encourage homophobia (since plenty of corporations do and somehow get away with it), but it should really be a given for two women to be able to shop comfortably without fear of being thrown out simply for existing. Clearly, Paige and her girlfriend felt the same way and hardly expected that they’d feel unsafe in the store. The store’s apology is nice and all, but it doesn’t make up for the emotional trauma and humiliation the two women faced. The one comfort I can find is that several decades ago, the media may have ignorantly sided with the store instead of acknowledging how unacceptable the situation was — but isn’t that kind of grasping at straws? Is our “progressive” world still so full of hate that the best consolation I can come up with is “well, at least in 2014 most people finally recognize that discrimination is cruel and pointless despite the fact that they still do it anyway”? So much for a happy Coming Out Day. [BuzzFeed, Independent UK] [Image via Shutterstock]