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Chch: Kissing women thrown out of bar

Wed 7 Feb 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

A Christchurch couple enjoying a night out at a central city bar are outraged that a kiss on the dance floor got them thrown out – apparently because both are women. Barista Lydia Boyd, who is bisexual, said she was kissing her date on the dance floor of the Grumpy Mole Saloon on Saturday night when a bouncer approached them. "He told us that if we were going to do that we had to 'get the f... out'," she said. Boyd, 18, who was on a first date with her friend, said she was certain the man's reaction was because they were women. "It was completely discriminatory. There's straight couples doing it all the time. They're practically having sex on the dance floor," Boyd said. "It's not like we were rolling drugs. We were just having a bit of a kiss and dancing." Her friend Steph Hansen, 18, said she was outraged by the incident. "I think it's really wrong. We were shocked because no-one is like that any more." Hansen said they were "openly kissing because it doesn't bother us", but were annoyed they were targeted. They said they would like to lay a complaint with the manager of Grumpy Mole. Akira Le Fevre, from sexuality support group Q-topia, said it was important for gay and bisexual people to be able to show affection in public places, as long as it was within good taste. "We don't want to see a lot of flesh and groping, but I don't see how it could have hurt anyone," she said. "They would have been quite brave to show their affection like that in a public bar and for them to be asked to leave is disgusting." Grumpy Mole management declined to comment. The outgoing manager, who would identify herself only as Kim and is in the process of training a new manager, said she would "look into" the allegations. She would not comment further. Christchurch lesbian Rebecca Hayward said discrimination was a common experience for gay and bisexual people. "I've never been asked to leave, but you do get a lot of dirty looks, saying, 'What the hell are you doing?' just walking down the street hand in hand." She said those who see same-sex couples being asked to leave should complain to the management. Human Rights Commissioner Warren Lindberg said Boyd and Hansen had grounds to complain if they felt aggrieved. Section 42 of the Human Rights Act specifies that no-one could be refused access to a public place on the grounds of a discriminatory act – in this case their sexual orientation. Last year, two women – Richelle Fitzgibbon, 29, and Kelly Holdway, 20 –were warned by security guards after kissing at a one-day cricket international in Napier. The security guard told the women they were distracting the crowd and could be thrown out if they kissed again.     Ref: Christchurch Press (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 7th February 2007 - 12:00pm

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