Saturday, 16 April 2011

Musings on the John Snow pub events - The Events

Last night about 600 people gathered outside a pub at the heart of Soho to protest against homophobia, of all things.

On Wednesday night, a young couple was having their first date. After pizza, they went to a favourite pub, the John Snow, and as the night progressed and they enjoyed each other's company, they started kissing. Independent witnesses have assured us that this was all very light stuff. Nothing that should worry anyone in a Soho pub.

Yet Jonathan Williams and James Bull (pictured), both in their 20s say they were asked to stop by a customer who identified himself as the landlord and professed himself "bothered". A couple of hours later, as Bull was preparing to leave, he gave, Williams "a peck on the lips". A woman claiming to be the landlady apparently asked them to leave at this point calling their behaviour "obscene"; the earlier customer/landlord allegedly lending her support and grabbing Bull by the lapel of his jacket.

The couple left, "shaken and angry", while other customers challenged what had just happened and were also asked to leave.

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Whether one condones public displays of affection or not, there is a strong suspicion that the ejection of those two men may have a homophobic motivation. And to those who claim, even within the LGBT community, that Williams and Bull should have kept to the safety of a gay bar, I reply (and others with me) that "separate but equal" and ghettoisation are not equality.

This is why about 600 of us and seemingly just as many representants of the press were blocking Broadwick Street last night.

Another kiss-in is planned for 21 April.

Musings on the John Snow pub events - The Management

Read my short report of the kiss-in for Londonist here. My pictures of the event can be found on flickr, here.


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