By: Shannon Ralph
In news that is both maddening and extremely comical in its absurdity, a lesbian couple was reprimanded and asked to leave the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco on Sunday because they were holding hands. That is the maddening portion of the story. Yet again, a gay couple is harassed for something as benign as holding hands in public. So what was the comical portion of the story? The couple was attending the exhibit “Seeing Gertrude Stein”, an exhibit celebrating the work of a famously out lesbian.
A lesbian couple was reprimanded for acting like lesbians at an exhibit celebrating a lesbian. Huh?
After the couple was asked to leave, an indignant crowd gathered to defend them, causing quite an uproar. The museum management immediately dismissed the guard. The Contemporary Jewish Museum does not hire its own security. Rather, it outsources security to a company called Guardsmark. The museum asked Guardsmark to fire the witless guard, but the company opted to reprimand him instead and has promised to provide sensitivity training to guards currently assigned to the museum and any guards assigned in the future. The guard who objected to the hand-holding will never work at the museum again.
If I ever visit the San Francisco area, I will definitely add the Contemporary Jewish Museum to my list of must-see places. A institution that responds that swiftly and effectively to discrimination against its patrons sounds like a pretty cool place to visit.
And believe me, my partner and I will be holding hands.
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