By Nina McFall
During lunchtime on Thursday, Rhodes University’s OUTRhodes society held a ‘Kiss-in Protest’ outside the library in celebration of IDAHO; International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The protest aimed to celebrate the theme “You are loved” and encouraged all kinds of affection, not only affection between couples. The event was open to both gay and straight couples and friends, as the Facebook event explained; “A kiss can mean a lot of things; love between friends, between lovers and family. This protest is a celebration of love. We love, we are loved.”
For participants’ safety and comfort, a few ground rules were set down for the event. It’s not a “tap tap lunge,” said Mallory Perret, OUTRhodes President. “That’s a Friar’s move!” added Kiss-in participant, John Vries. Larissa Klazinga, Student Services Officer in the Dean of Students Division, said: “The Dean of Students Division supports LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] students’ right to express their love in a safe environment.”
Last year, OUTRhodes had a handholding photo competition, however it received very few entries. Perrett, believes that the lack of support is due to the fact that not that many people at Rhodes are officially couples. This year, both gay and straight couples can participate. “The idea is to spread the love and show you don’t have to be shy to show affection,” Perrett said.
IDAHO has its origin in 2004, when Louis-Georges Tin, a French LGTBI rights activist launched an initiative to have a globally recognised International Day Against Homophobia. Tin proposed that IDAHO fall on May 17 to commemorate the General Assembly of the World Health Organisation’s decision on May 17, 1990 to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.Share