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Gay couple had the absolute best response to religious protesters who targeted Rocky Horror Show

Josh Milton September 19, 2019
A gay couple showed their defiance against a group of religious protesters in the best way possible. (Joe Fergus and Robert Brookes)

A gay couple showed their defiance against a group of religious protesters in the best way possible. (Joe Fergus and Robert Brookes)

Religious protesters who picketed a Rocky Horror Show performance were greeted by a gay couple that had the best response to all their hate.

In the walled city of Chester, originally a Roman fortress, it only made sense that protesters would want to divide the local community.

But Joe Fergus, 24, and his 21-year-old boyfriend Robert Brookes decided to “spread some love” and kissed just metres away from the churchgoers.

“We wanted to stand up for our rights and our community,” say gay couple.

The pair went to see a performance of the musical, which heavily features queer themes and characters, at the Storyhouse Theatre in the city centre earlier this week.

Around half a dozen churchgoers stood opposite the theatre on Hunter Street holding yellow placards bearing bible quotes and verses.

For Sale @Kenney Moore #SpreadLOVENotHate

Posted by Chester Pride on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

According to the Chester Standard, they were representatives of the Zion Tabernacle Protestant Evangelical Church, a local place of worship.

Nevertheless, the adorable couple embraced one another directly in front of them. Fergus later posted a photo of the kiss on his Facebook account and it quickly tallied nearly 400 likes.

Religious protesters shout “you’re an abomination” at young gay couple.

Fergus told PinkNews that the protesters had picketed the previous night. When they made a reappearance the day after, the pair decided to act.

“While having a drink prior to the show, I laughed and said to Rob: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t acknowledge them at all and just kissed?’

“When we arrived, there was lots of shouting between the protesters and audience members waiting outside the theatre. The problem with that is you can’t fight hate with hate, which is why we decided to spread some love.”

As the lovers kissed outside entrance, a protester jeered “That’s lovely – you’re an abomination!” at them. The audience members, however, cheered in celebration.

“We wanted to stand up for our rights and our community and I strongly encourage others to do the same,” Fergus said.

Joe Fergus and Robert Brookes kiss in front of a religious protest at Chester Pride 2018. (Joe Fergus and Robert Brookes)

“I respect everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, I am also entitled to kiss my boyfriend wherever I want without judgment, and that’s what we are fighting for.”

However, this isn’t the first time the couple have spread the love – the religious group might have recognised Fergus and Brookes.

When the group demonstrated Chester Pride last year, Fergus and Brookes kissed in front of a cluster of yellow placards held by the protesters.

Chester Pride re-posted the photo yesterday on its Facebook page, and more than 100 people jumped into the comment section to express their admiration of the couple.

One person wrote: “This needs to go viral. This is iconic. All you need is love.”

“Are [the protesters] like Chester’s own version of the Westboro Baptist Church?” questioned one local.

Theatre and locals show defiance against the protesters. 

Moreover, the city itself is gearing up for Chester Pride this Sunday. With local businesses and residents decorating shop stalls and homes with Pride flags in preparation.

As Fergus described, “There’s lot of love, support and rainbows everywhere you look right now” in Chester.

Moreover, theatre organisers have also spoken out against the protesters and are refusing to give in to their demands.

“To everyone coming to the Rocky Horror Show tonight and this week at Storyhouse,” the theatre wrote on its Twitter account.

“Storyhouse is and always will be a safe space. We celebrate and support LGBTQ+ communities–always.

“Let’s have a FABULOUS night & week.

“To those who are protesting: #LETSDOTHETIMEWARPAGAIN.”

A Storyhouse spokesperson told PinkNews: “Storyhouse is and always will be a safe space.

“We proudly celebrate and support LGBTQ+ communities whether through our programme or the many groups that use Storyhouse as their home.

“In the week of Chester Pride of which Storyhouse is once again part) it is moments like this that reaffirm how crucial public support of inclusivity is.”

More: Chester, Pride, religious protest, rocky horror show

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