Paris: it's supposed to be the most romantic city in the world. A city where kissing on picturesque streets is commonplace, a city where you can just happen to run into Ethan Hawke (again), a city where the weight of lovers' amorous expressions can take down a bridge. But according to one couple, Paris isn't equally welcoming of all kinds of romantic expression.
The Guardian reports that a train guard from Thalys International has been suspended after yelling at a lesbian couple in the middle of saying their goodbyes. He told the couple that their goodbye kiss "cannot be tolerated." He also told the couple that "it would have been fine for heterosexual couples to kiss."
One of the women on the receiving end of the homophobic rant, Mirjam, 35, from Amsterdam, a member of the organisation All Out, called for gay rights activists to complain to the company in a massive demonstration of solidarity.
"Imagine it. You spent the weekend with your partner in Paris. You say goodbye on the train platform with a hug and a kiss. It'll be a while until you see each other again. Then an angry train official strides over to stop you kissing – he says it 'can't be tolerated'. Humiliating," she wrote on the All Out site. "My girlfriend and I can't believe that a Thalys official picked on us just because we're not a straight couple."
Advocacy groups are demanding that Thalys apologize and provide equality training for all of their staff.
The irony of ironies? In 2013 Thalys' advertising campaign featured a same-sex couple "embracing, having been reunited by a Thalys train."
A spokeswoman for Thalys confirmed that the company has begun an full investigation.
Image via Getty.