Vacationing students organize same-sex kiss-in at nightclub -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Vacationing students organize same-sex kiss-in at nightclub

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A group of Duke University students said when they heard about men getting kicked out of a nightclub for kissing other men, they knew they had to act, or in this case, kiss.

"We're from different parts of the country. We go to school in North Carolina," said Daniel Kort, a senior at Duke. "But we saw that LGBTQ individuals were not being fairly treated and we wanted to do something about that because to stand idly by we feel would be especially wrong."

The students said they had seen two different posts on YikYak, an anonymous social media app that shows posts from users nearby, in which people described getting thrown out of the Spanish Galleon for kissing someone of the same sex. They said they also heard first-hand from someone who was upset after his same-sex friends were told to leave the club.

"These types of events and policies can really penetrate and negatively impact the mental and physical health of socially-marginalized groups, so we wanted to do anything we could to alleviate that," Kort said.

Kort, Victoria Chang and Tyler Nelson decided to organize a kiss-in at the Spanish Galleon in North Myrtle Beach.

"It was safe space for anyone who didn't identify as straight to dance and to kiss whoever they wanted to," Chang said.

Ten same-sex pairs kissed at 1 a.m. Wednesday inside the club. The students said the bouncers didn't kick them out of the club or say anything to them afterward.

"This bouncer saw us making out with people of the same gender and did not intervene and that made us happy because we proved a point to our peers and the club that we're here, we're queer and we're not going anywhere," Kort said.

Along with Duke University students, University of Richmond and Yale students also participated.

The Spanish Galleon didn't respond to messages.

Summer Sheehan, who lives in Myrtle Beach and attends CCU, said she has felt ostracized at local clubs in the past.

"I have gone to clubs with girlfriends and have been looked at and stared at and ogled at by guys and it's really off-putting and it's really uncomfortable and it makes you not want to go out," Sheehan said.

She said heteronormativity, the assumption that all relationships are male and female, is the reason because it's prevalent in nightclub culture.

"DJs going on the mic and saying, 'Alright guys, here comes a slow song. Grab your girls and let's get on the dance floor and dance,'" she said. "That's the kind of thing that promotes heteronormativity."

Senor Frogs in Myrtle Beach said it doesn't discriminate against anyone and the managers want everyone to have a great time.

Sheehan said heteronormativity is not club exclusive and it's a problem throughout society.

"There needs to be better education," she said. "People need to be informed and things like the kiss-in that happened with the Duke students, that is a huge social movement and more stuff like that needs to happen."

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