On March 25, a lesbian couple were in one of their regular hangouts, the Store Café in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona. Their presence, however, had apparently upset a member of staff at the café, who told them to stop kissing each other because, he said, they were bothering the rest of the customers. According to the couple’s version of events, which they first reported to the region’s Observatory against Homophobia, the employee also told them that their behavior was “inappropriate.”
After the two women, both aged 48, filed the complaint over the incident, they also related the details to gay rights associations. In response, the Catalan groups Lesbocat and FAGC staged a demonstration on Thursday, which saw two dozen or so homosexual couples stage a “kiss-in” at the café.
Love cannot be a reason for discrimination and that is why we came here to kiss each other”
The women also reported the incident to the Gràcia district councilor, and filed a complaint with the regional government on March 31.
However, the version of the events told by the owner of the café is somewhat different. She claims that the couple were kissing on a sofa and that they were touching each other’s genitals, which was upsetting other customers. What’s more, she insists that the behavior of the employee was not out of place.
News of the incident spread fast among groups who work with lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals in Barcelona, and the idea of a demonstration soon surfaced. “Today we wanted to show the owner of the café that love cannot be a reason for discrimination and that is why we came here to kiss each other,” explained Elena Longares, president of Lesbocat.
Eugeni Rodríguez, the president of FAGC, said the facts were “very serious, given that this is the first time that we have seen such a blatant violation of the law against discrimination for reasons of sexual orientation that was approved by the regional government last October.”
Specifically, the café staff may have infringed articles that refer to preventing a person from entering an establishment because of their sexual orientation.