Just days ago, Hackney Sainsbury’s threw a gay couple out of their store – because they were holding hands. In response, the local lesbian and gay community descended on the store on Saturday – for a flash kissathon in protest. Around 200 members of the lesbian and gay community took part in the protest. Waving rainbow flags, they danced outside the supermarket before rushing into the aisles and locking lips.
Sainsbury’s had already apologised to Thomas Rees and Joshua Bradwell. They explained that the security guard had asked them to leave the shop because a fellow woman shopper had complained, and they offered the couple a £10 voucher by way of apology. Sainsbury’s issued a formal statement insisting that they had a zero tolerance policy against discrimination and explaining that their security contractor is investigating the incident.
It is worrying that a major supermarket chain can have security staff in place who have not already been told not to discriminate against customers before they go out to work on the shop floor. This time it was a single security officer siding with a customer who did not want to see two men holding hands. Next time, will it be acceding to the wishes of customers who do not want to see a customer in a wheelchair, or one wearing a hijab? Discrimination has no place in the East End: well done the kissers, who are standing up for all of us!