Kissing for Equality

Photo courtesy of the writer.

Kissing for Equality

by Taia Handlin | Juicy Bits | Feb 14, 2017

On a cold, rainy, shitty Sunday a small but dedicated band of protesters here in New York City marched from the Trump Hotel to the Trump Tower to stand in the pouring rain and make out. It was an LGBTQ+ group that started with a few friends joking that if Trump issues an executive order to legalize discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, they would march over to Trump Tower and furiously make out. Some good ol’ fashioned queer smooching to defy the bigots.

Melted and dirty snow with hidden pockets of ice did nothing to sway the marchers on their journey to activist canoodling. The police very nicely walked alongside, stopping traffic and chatting with the girl covered in DIY “vag badges” and the man in the Kellyanne Conway outfit.

Chants at the protest were intersectional and included support for Black Lives Matter, trans rights, and LGBTQ rights more generally. Allies were welcome to march, chant, and kiss.

One of the organizers, Vincent De Seno, is only 19. This protest demonstrated that you don’t have to have years of experience to be an activist, nor do you have to have thousands–or even hundreds–of people to make a statement.

“After hearing about the first executive order–the Muslim ban–I was really upset,” De Seno told me, talking loudly over the rain and cheering. “Then I heard rumors about another one that would make it appropriate to discriminate against people for sexual orientation. So I went to my two friends, Anika and Mychael over there, and I said ‘if that happens, I am going to Trump Tower and I’m finding the nearest man and I’m kissing him so hard.’”

“Consensually, I hope.”

“Of course. Of course consensually. And they [Anika and Mychael] said ‘you know, that’s a great idea.’ And then they had the idea to make it into a whole big event. So all three of us made this group and it just sort of caught fire and now here we are. On a bit of a rainy day but here we are. All the support we’ve gotten–it’s become a very intersectional event and I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful for everyone who has shown up today to show their support.”

“What about your man?”

“I don’t have a man right now. I don’t need a man [laughs]. I’m just here overseeing; I want to make sure everyone else has a good, safe time here. A man’s a bit of a distraction, anyway.”