National Coming Out Day: Sainsbury's apologises to lesbian couple for stopping kiss

The couple was asked to refrain from displays of affection or leave the store on National Coming Out Day

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The Independent Online

Sainsbury's has apologised to a lesbian couple after they were told to stop kissing when a customer apparently complained that it was "disgusting".

Annabelle Paige, a student at the University of Sussex, and her girlfriend were at the Brighton branch of the superstore on Saturday, coincidentally National Coming Out Day, and were asked to stop kissing by a security guard. The store denies that the couple was asked to leave.

Paige told The Times that she gave her girlfriend a light kiss and then a security guard came over to say they could either stop displaying signs of affection or leave the shop.

She added: “To be honest, I thought she was joking. I’ve never experienced something like that and at the same time as we were in the store there were heterosexual couples being as affectionate, if not more so.

“I’m so shocked and upset about it. I get that if another customer is uncomfortable that’s a bad thing ... but the problem is the other customer was in the wrong and essentially being homophobic. The guard didn’t seem to understand that, I was absolutely humiliated."

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's clarified that the security guard was employed by a third party, but told The Independent: "This should never have happened - it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.

“We have called Miss Paige to apologise and will be making a donation to a charity of her choice.”

The 22 year-old student has subsequently accepted the apology and the charity donation.

National Coming Out Day is an annual awareness day that is celebrated globally on October 11 to promote and recognise members of the LGBT community.

On Sunday 9 November the Independent on Sunday will publish its annual list of the 101 most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Britain, the Rainbow List. 

You can nominate your favourites here.