For Immediate Release:
Friday, June 22nd, 2007, Portland, Ore - On Monday, June 11th, two fourteen year old girls were forced off of public transportation(TriMet) when a fellow passenger complained that they were kissing. The driver of the bus allegedly referred to the girls as "Sickos" and told them to "knock it off." When one of the girls became visibly distraught, the other hugged her in a show of comfort, and they were promptly ejected from the bus.
TriMet, according to Mary Fetsch (communications director,) has a policy against kicking minors and "vulnerable" people off of the bus. While Trimet has issued an apology to the girls and their families, and announced the driver "will face disciplinary action", the focus of these apologies has been on the fact that the girls are minors, and not that they are same-sex. Members of the LGBTQ community of Portland are outraged that this aspect of the situation has not been addressed, and that Trimet's response has been so mild. They are calling for a public apology by both the driver and Trimet to the entire LGBTQ community, as well as additional diversity training for Trimet employees.
To call attention to the issue, "The Great Kiss-In" has been organized for Sunday, July 8th at 2 pm. Members of the LGBTQ community will gather at 701 SW 6th Ave, in front of Trimet's offices, to kiss in a show of solidarity with the girls. Their message is that everyone has the right to show their loved ones affection. All allies welcome.
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