“This is a declaration. We are no longer afraid.”
Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Twitter/@Sentiido
Hundreds of people turned out in Colombia to show their support for a gay couple who were harassed for kissing in public.
A community-organised kiss-a-thon took place on Sunday (31 July) in a park in Bogotá, Colombia, the location where Santiago Maldonado and Jorge Esteban Farías had been confronted by a group of women, one threatening them with a broomstick.
Witnesses posted a shocking video of the homophobic attack, which took place in the Engativá neighbourhood of the capital, on social media: “I was even more amazed at the riot of violent people. In the absence of pitchforks, broomsticks… That being an LGB or T person does not cost us our lives!” one tweet reads.
The video sees a group of women shouting at the couple: “in this neighbourhood we don’t allow sex in the park, especially not in front of children.” The young men responded by asking “what sex?” explaining that they had only kissed, according to the BBC.
Horrifyingly, one of the women also threatens: “If you don’t leave, we’ll lynch you”.
Claudia López, who is Bogotá’s first gay mayor, wrote on Twitter that her team was “in contact with the victims to support them,” adding: “We will fight until equality is customary.”
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Colombia since 2016 and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is prohibited in the county.
“This is a declaration, We are no longer afraid, even if they take out their sticks, we are going to stand up together as a community. To celebrate love #besaton #BesatonEnElSalitre Besaton Bogotá,” a translated tweet about the kiss-a-thon reads.
The video sees attendees chanting and kissing with rainbow flags and signs reading ‘Kisses are signs of affection, not a crime’.
Colombian drag queen Lesley Wolf, who appeared as a contestant on the first season of Trinity The Tuck’s Love For The Arts, tweeted “Graçias!” with an image of the large crowd.
A similar community-organised kiss-a-thon in 2019 took place in protest over LGBTQ+ rights in the South American country after a gay couple was harassed and fined for ‘indecent exposure’ when they were holding hands and hugging.