A lesbian couple are banned over a kiss, and a gay woman is
snubbed at a funeral: Paris Lees looks at discrimination in the
IT ENDED WITH A KISS
So, you and your girlfriend meet for dinner at the restaurant
where you first met. It's your anniversary and you're feeling all
you even have time to look at the menu, you greet her with a quick
kiss. All above board, right?
If you were heterosexual, such a smooch would probably go
unnoticed. Lovers greet with kisses every day; thousands will have
done so as you read this sentence. But when lesbian couple Kenyata
White and Aeimee Diaz had a hello-kiss at Downtown Phoenix's
District American Kitchen & Wine Bar, in the Sheraton Hotel,
the manager asked them to leave. Apparently, they were making the
other diners uncomfortable.
It's at this point that I desperately wish to be teleported
through space and time, to that precise moment, and complain about
how uncomfortable the other customers' homophobia is making me.
Manager, I'm afraid I'd have to ask you to leave too, as your
bigotry makes me uneasy. Sorry about that.
After Ms White described the incident on her Facebook wall, the
restaurant's page was inundated with angry comments. Crap like this
has always happened. The difference now, though, as I have pointed
out many times, is that the internet means we find out about it.
Trivial though social networking may seem, I promise you it's up
there with the introduction of the railways, TV and both world
wars. Maybe even Glee. It will be decades before we can truly
assess the web's social impact but, for now, we can safely say it
shines a light on prejudice and discrimination. Thank you
IT GETS WORSE
If you think that getting kicked out of a restaurant over a kiss
is bad, just wait till you here this: a mourner in Washington was
excluded from a funeral service because she "lives with another
woman". During the communion, church goers were given bread and
wine to represent the body and blood of Jesus. When the priest came
to grieving Barbara Johnson, however, the Washington Post reports
that something very unpleasant happened: "He put his hand over the
body of Christ and looked at me and said, 'I can't give you
Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the
church, that is a sin.'" It gets worse: "Family members said the
priest left the altar while Johnson, 51, was delivering a eulogy
and did not attend the burial or find another priest to be there."
I don't claim to be an expert on the Christian religion, but I'm
pretty sure that adding to people's grief in such a rude and
churlish manner is not the done thing. After all, as the Black Eyed
Peas would say, where is the love? And where is the bloody priest?
Seeking forgiveness, one hopes.
DON'T MARRY HER. OR HIM.
A judge in Texas is refusing to conduct heterosexual marriages -
until the state recognises homosexual marriages too. Dallas County
Judge Tonya Parker discussed her decision during a recent political
meeting, reports NYDailyNews.com. She said: "I do not perform them
because it is not an equal application of the law. Period". Parker
"So I usually will offer them something along the lines of, 'I'm
sorry. I don't perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a
state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am
not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that
doesn't apply to another group of people'".
Parker is thought to be the first out gay African-American elected
official in Texas, which makes her a trailblazer, and worthy of
respect. Still, I'm not convinced she has the best approach. It's
incredibly unfair that gay people are not allowed to marry in many
parts of the world, but refusing to hitch straight couples is
unlikely to win support for marriage equality. Either way, it's a
fight which just won't go away and, ultimately, it's one which I
believe gay people will win. Look at the repeal of the American
military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy last year. Gay people can
now serve openly in the forces… so change really is possible. I
hope that, once marriage equality is won, queer activists in North
America will turn their attention to trans people, who face huge
discrimination in housing, employment and at home. Just a
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