A gay-activist group plans to stage a “queer kiss-in” at the Fort Worth Stockyards on Saturday, claiming the popular tourist area is “nongay friendly.”
Queer LiberAction said it would set up a kissing booth, give free hugs and play kissing games right in the heart of the historic area highlighting Fort Worth's Western heritage.
"It's very upbeat and entertaining for us,” said Joe Remsik, the group’s Fort Worth leader. "We chose the Stockyards because it is so conservative, because it's so sterotypically ‘cowboy,’ and it's historically nongay friendly."
He said the group wants to show that gay people have the same right to show affection in public as heterosexual couples.
Hub Baker, the long-time manager of the Cowtown Coliseum rodeo, in the center of the Stockyards, said he doesn't exactly welcome the demonstration.
"My first thought is, in the Fort Worth Stockyards, we like to welcome anyone and everyone, and we don't discriminate," he said.
But he added that he has a problem with anyone kissing in public -- gay or straight.
"Manners are manners,” he said. “If they don't act right among cowboys, maybe they need to get a good whipping."
The Fort Worth gay community has become more active since a controversial raid of a gay bar in June.
But Queer LiberAction has also been controversial itself.
When several members were kicked out of a Fort Worth city council meeting after refusing to wait their turn to talk, some gay leaders suggested the group doesn't represent the gay community at large.
"Visitors, including those from Dallas-based Queer LiberAction, will find kissing is commonplace in Fort Worth," Burns said. "In fact, it's an activity in which I engage daily... Fort Worth welcomes all, including those who like to kiss and even those who don't."
Remsik, of Fort Worth, said the group started in Dallas but formed a Fort Worth chapter several months ago.
He said the group expected counterprotesters.
“If we don’t anger people, we’re not doing our jobs,” he said.
Baker, the rodeo manager, said he would not try to stop the kissing demonstration, but didn’t plan to watch, either.