Surrounding the Dalton Trumbo Fountain at CU-Boulder’s campus Friday, students gathered and cheered as about 20 of their peers made out for two minutes straight in the cold of the afternoon sun.
Sparking much interest and curiosity, members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight communities joined together to protest the cultural stigma against public displays of same-sex affection.
“It’s ultimately about equal rights and love,” said Irene Kern, a CU student who sponsored the demonstration deemed “Make Out Stake Out.” “We’re all adults and I think it should be the same regardless of orientation, gender, age, race etc . It’s a principle.”
“This is essentially a demonstration to express that public displays of affection aren’t tolerated as much for same-sex couples,” Kern, sophomore sociology major, said.
With help from her friends, Kern organized the event and gained support awareness through a group they created on Facebook.
At exactly 11:53 p.m., demonstrators – gay, bisexual, lesbian and straight alike – walked together in a single group to the center of the plaza outside CU’s University Memorial Center, found a partner and began the mass make-out session.
Both those who participated and observed said they did so to raise awareness and overcome the stigmas that surround same-sex public displays of affection.
Joey Bisman, a freshman communications major at CU said, “I am all for gay rights. I hate Prop 8 and I love my gay friends.”
For some students, the event served the purpose of relieving social tensions surrounding sexuality in general.
Kyle Warner, CU sophomore journalism major said, “I participated because I am gay but I believe in fluidity in sexuality so I feel that everyone, regardless of their making out, should feel comfortable doing so.”
Demonstration support, however, was not limited to Boulder.
“It’s an awesome way to protest,” said Charles Hunt, a junior microbiology major and co-president of GLBT Student Services at CSU. “I strongly believe gay public displays of affection are not really accepted, and are looked down upon.”
“But it shouldn’t matter who you are or who you love,” he added.
Other CSU students said while “Make Out Stake Out” represented a step forward in the fight for gay rights, there are more effective and impactful methods to bring about change than making out.
“Hell yea I support gay rights,” said Amy Condas, a CSU junior sports medicine major. “I know there are inequalities between the different orientations.”
“I would support a similar demonstration at CSU, but there may be a better outlet than people just making out. I think the idea is positive and a step forward.”
Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.