Though 15 to 20 couples were expected to participate in the LGBTA Student Coalition KissOut, 10 couples locked lips Thursday.
Taking place in the HUB-Robeson Center, the KissOut aimedto spread awareness that Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated by all couples, not just those who are straight.
“The KissOut is a way for us to create visibility for ourselves. We celebrate Valentine’s Day, too. Our love is just as valid as your love,” Tesha Davis (sophomore-communication sciences and disorders) said.
Though the goal was to enhance visibility of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, the event was not exclusively for its members. Former Rainbow Roundtable President Jenny Shipley said people of all sexual orientations were invited to participate.
Last year, not only did more couples participate in the annual event, but also it was held in more locations. In 2012, the event took place at three different times on Valentine’s Day. First, in the HUB, second, in front of the Allen Street Gates and third in Redifer Commons. This year, one event took place.
Shipley (senior-mechanical engineering) said the group decided to condense the event this year because of fluctuations in attendance at the various locations.
LGBTA Student Coalition Co-President Spencer Paret (sophomore-industrial engineering) wore a rainbow flag around his back, while Aly Motah, a participant in the KissOut, wore bright red lipstick.
“I see the KissOut as a time to give people who may be afraid to come out of the closet the courage to do so,” Motah (senior-food science) said.
This year marks the ninth consecutive KissOut, an event that began in 2005. The first KissOut sparked controversy when a picture of the event appeared on the front page of the Collegian the following day. A series of letters to the editor were sent to the paper expressing anger at the printed images of gay couples kissing.
“Personally, it is not my thing to see homosexual couples kissing, but I am not going to stop them from doing it,” Kathryn Carruba (sophomore-engineering sciences), who was sitting in the HUB during this year’s KissOut, said.
This year, however, Shipley said the group did not directly receive any negative reactions to the event.