Cat calls, whistles and hoots sounded through the HUB-Robeson Center around noon yesterday as more than 30 people participated in the fourth annual KissOut to raise awareness of the hetero-normative nature of Valentine's day.
After passing out pink fliers that explained the KissOut's purpose, a group gathered at the bottom of the main staircase and shouted "Happy Valentine's Day," prompting several couples, including some from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community, along with heterosexual couples, to lock lips.
Some gave just a peck, while others kissed passionately.
The KissOut was sponsored by multiple organizations that are all part of the LGBTQ and Allies community, including SpeakOut, Undertones, oSTEM (out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the Coalition of LGBTA Graduate Students.
Christina Swomley (senior-psychology), co-president of SpeakOut, an activist organization of LGBTQ individuals and their allies, said the goal of the KissOut was awareness.
"That was our goal -- to be visible," Swomley said.
While the KissOut invoked stares from some passers-by, there wasn't much commotion. Reaction from students was mostly positive.
"It's cool with me," Will Brunner (sophomore-division of undergraduate studies) said. "I have no problem with it; everyone can do whatever they want."
C.J. Sindler (senior-geography) had a similar response.
"It's Valentine's Day," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight."
Sindler said he didn't think the KissOut was a big deal, and after he looked up for a few seconds, he went back to reading his newspaper.
Swomley said the event was also held "just to show and celebrate our love for each other."
The distributed fliers stated that Valentine's Day is the most hetero-normative day of the year, so the event aimed to highlight privileges straight individuals enjoy every day, such as holding hands and enjoying other public displays of affection.
The KissOut emphasized the double standard that exists when LGBTQ couples display their affection openly, Swomley said. She added that the LGBTQ community is sometimes criticized for showing affection for each other in public, but are also sexualized by others.
"Any space on campus can become a queer safe space," Swomley said.