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LGBT activists defied a hostile estate agent last night with a “queer kiss-in” as he attempted to disperse the crowd with a bucket of water.
Campaigners gathered outside Wood Green Estates in north London to protest against the treatment of a same-sex couple who were denied the right to view a property, with the estate agent apparently telling them that the landlord was “looking for a man and a woman — a proper couple.”
Soon after the protesters arrived, a senior agent came outside and asked the group to leave. When the group refused, the man returned with a bucket of water, which he poured downhill onto the demonstrators.
Community shelter group The Outside Project director Carla Ecola said throwing water at homeless people was a common tactic people used to stop them sleeping rough outside their buildings.
She said: “In this cold weather it’s such a dangerous thing to do. Wood Green Estates: you’re beyond awful. See you again soon.”
People passing by showed support for the demonstrators, including a group of young boys in school uniform.
They shouted in outrage when they discovered how the couple had been treated, chanting: “Shame on you,” while pointing at the agents.
Three men were assaulted in a homophobic attack in the north London suburb just last week.
Stonewall housing director Michael Nastari said he had received a phone call from the couple after their ordeal in May who had booked to view three rooms with the estate agency.
“When they arrived [to view the property] the estate agent told them ‘no sorry, we're looking for a man and a woman — a proper couple’,” he said.
“As you can imagine, for a lesbian couple, for that to be their first experience or even just in general sucks.”
Mr Nastari added that campaigners will continue to put pressure on the agency until it apologises and is clear about its policy.
The agency closed early and attempted to bring down the shutters while protesters sat underneath. An agent denied that the agency had refused the couple, claiming there was a “misunderstanding.”
Already, there is a higher rate of homelessness within the community, with one in four of the homeless population identifying as LGBT.
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