People from across London attended a gay ‘kiss-in’ in Piccadilly Circus, to mark Valentine’s Day.
A number of couples (and probably some complete strangers) locked lips in front of the iconic statue of Eros for the protest, to mark the start of Pride’s ‘Freedom to Kiss’ campaign.
The protest came after research by Pride in London found that 54% of same-sex couples do not feel comfortable kissing in public – after growing reports of homophobic abuse aimed at kissing couples.
86% of those who said they would not be comfortable cited fear as a main factor – reporting that they were frightened of physical violence or verbal abuse.
One of the protesters, Bronac McNeill, said: “We all now enjoy more legal equality than ever before, but we are seeing an increasing number of same-sex couples be subjected to homophobic behaviour and discrimination for expressing affection to their partners in public.
“Now, more than ever before, we need more LGBT+ heroes, including our straight allies, to stand beside us and show why the right to kiss our partners in public – whatever their gender – is a freedom we should all enjoy.”
Comedians Russell Brand and David Walliams supported the kiss-in, tweeting a picture and adding: “Who says our love is wrong…?”
Michael Salter, Chairman of Pride in London said: “Last year we saw a record breaking Pride in London as hundreds of thousands of people rallied together to celebrate the city’s diversity and call for greater equality.
“This year, we are calling for participants in the Pride Parade to celebrate the heroes in their lives who have encouraged them to be themselves and have championed for the LGBT rights and the freedoms that we enjoy today and others that still need to be fought for like the freedom to show affection in public in the same way as anybody else.”
(Photos: Pride in London)