A lesbian couple was enjoying an art exhibit at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum over the weekend when they were reportedly approached by a museum security guard and told they had to leave -- all because they were holding hands.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius, the guard told the women they were not permitted to hold hands inside the museum. When they began to argue with him, he attempted to usher them outside. The women refused and asked to see the head of security, while an outraged crowd of people formed to watch the altercation. The head of security met with the women and immediately removed the guard from duty, according to Daryl Carr, the museum's Director of Marketing and Communications.
Ironically, the women were checking out the work of famous lesbian artist Gertrude Stein.
The guard was not an employee of the museum but a contractor employed by a private security company, who had been called in to "fill a temporary slot due to staffing shortage," said Connie Wolf, the museum director, in a letter to the museum's board and staff. She said he will not be allowed to work at the museum again.
"Please let me be crystal clear that the CJM has a zero tolerance policy concerning any type of prejudiced or racist word or action— whether directed at CJM visitors or staff," she wrote. "The Museum has distinguished itself as a welcoming place where visitors, regardless of their backgrounds, can connect with one another through dialogue and shared experiences with the arts...We informed the company that the type of behavior exhibited by the guard is contrary to the CJM’s policy and is unacceptable."