Gay couples stage Sainsbury supermarket 'kiss-in' protest

By Nick Whigham

Around 200 same sex couples took part in the kiss-in at Sainsbury's supermarket, staged after a gay couple were asked to leave for holding hands. Photo / YouTube
Around 200 same sex couples took part in the kiss-in at Sainsbury's supermarket, staged after a gay couple were asked to leave for holding hands. Photo / YouTube

Hundreds of Londoners have staged a same sex kiss-in at a Sainsbury's Local store in a show of solidarity with the LGBT community after a gay couple were asked outside by supermarket security because they were holding hands.

Thomas Rees, 32, and Joshua Bradwell, 25, were ejected from the store earlier this week after a customer complained to store security about the pair "touching inappropriately".

The incident made headlines and drew widespread condemnation and in the wake of the backlash Sainsbury's apologised and offered the couple a £10 ($NZD18) voucher.

After the store's token apology, the LGBT community staged their own reply, attracting about 200 couples and an even bigger crowd of onlookers. Photo / Twitter/Tom Knight
After the store's token apology, the LGBT community staged their own reply, attracting about 200 couples and an even bigger crowd of onlookers. Photo / Twitter/Tom Knight

But instead of accepting the measly recompense, the pair organised a beautiful right of reply.

The store in East London became the site of promiscuous protest on Saturday night local time when around 200 same sex couples descended on the supermarket to do a little more than hold hands.

Scores of gay men and women armed with rainbow flags and speaker systems pumping out party tunes filled the aisles before starting a countdown to the mass kiss-in, reported Sky News.

The song blaring throughout the store during the moment of passion was Kiss Kiss by Australian singer Holly Valance.

While shoppers were puzzled, the men at the centre of the story expressed disbelief at the huge size of the crowd and thanked their supporters.


"The number that turned out was absolutely insane, we were not expecting this at all," Bradwell told the Press Association.

"We were right to be holding hands because when someone questions your behaviour in such a direct manner you can't help but analyse how you are perceived by society," his partner Rees added.

According to reports at least one member of the public took issue with the display of affection shouting at the group "get off my street".

However the crowds weren't deterred and were supported by the staff at the store who put out biscuits and water for the protesters.

A spokesperson for the store said management were "working hard to make sure lessons are learnt" calling the protest a "really great event".

"We do our best to make sure everyone feels welcome in our stores but occasionally we make mistakes," they said.

For Rees, it was mission accomplished.

"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," he said.

A similar protest was staged in London in 2011, after a gay couple were told to leave the John Snow pub in Soho, London. According to The Guardian,about 300 protesters took part in the kiss-in, held on the street outside the bar.

- news.com.au

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