Gay Kiss Photo Stirs Outrage, Sales for South African Student Paper


A photo of two men kissing on the front page of the student paper of South Africa's Stellenbosch University is creating controversy for the paper's editor, reports:

"The photo was taken during the annual 'Kiss in the Avenue', which involves students trying to set a record for the most couples kissing during a single event.

Apparently members of the university's Gay and Lesbian Organisation usually feel too intimidated to take part in the event, but this year decided to participate and managed to recruit friends from University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape to support them.

Outgoing editor of Die Matie Annelize Kloppers said the reaction to the picture was quite unexpected.

'The most interesting thing was to watch people's reaction as they picked up the newspaper. Some of them asked me, 'What were you thinking? …Some people tore the picture out of the paper or crossed it out with a marker.' … The editor says she has been innudated by calls to either congratulate or chastise her about using the picture.

'This is the biggest reaction that I've had to any story ever,' Kloppers said."

It's the best selling edition of the paper in four years, and the photo has also apparently been helpful to the student group which organized the event:

"The Lesbigay organisation, which arranged transport to the event for the two men in the photo, says it has gained 60 members due to the publicity."

Eyewitness News adds: "One of the kissers, Bjohn Czepan of UCT, said he did not think Stellenbosch was ready for their bold stance.

'I know many people have a problem with seeing two guys kissing each other,' said Czepan.

Some students have expressed their horror on Facebook and said the paper was seeking cheap publicity, while others are in favour of the bold statement." 


  1. johnny says

    Someday images like the one shown will be commonplace and won’t get more than passing notice. Hope I live long enough to see that day. The outrage described is stupid. It’s just two guys kissing. Get over it. Why are photos of genocide and war commonplace and “normal” yet a photo showing affection between two humans considered so horrid? This planet is backward.

  2. jason says

    Hell, no, I don’t want two men kissing to be safe and non-threatening. I want it to be out there and in-your-face, challenging all homophobes wherever they may exist, whether liberal or conservative.

    They fear two men kissing more than two women kissing. That’s because two men challenges patriarchy, two women serves it. We should always be prepared, as men, to kiss other men and assert our affection rights any damn place we please.

  3. BoxerDad says

    Echos of “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”

    Bold statements R us. To all those people who say, “I don’t care what they do in their bedrooms, I just don’t want it pushed in my face,” We proudly proclaim, “Suck this!

  4. macguffin54 says

    is it wrong that with such a politcally charged story the thing that stands out most to me is the “Lesbigay” reference. It is such an obvious way to refer to the LGB (if not T) community that it must have used before. And yet, I’ve never seen it before. It tickles me. Lesbigay? Yes, Let’s Be Gay!

  5. candideinnc says

    I believe that gay marriage is legal in South Africa. It is amazing that, given that situation, anyone would really care if there is a picture of two men kissing in public.

  6. ant says

    Boxerdad: so what would you suggest – that we should never ever, either on purpose or by accident, show any affection publicly because it will upset all those good decent people who wouldn’t care at all what we do if we would just keep it out of their faces?

    you must know by now (or prefer to deny it) those folks have a problem with us, PDA or no. you’re suggesting we all go back into the closet – sorry, not a chance.

  7. Nicole says

    @Ant: I think you misread Boxerdad’s comment. I got the complete opposite meaning from it – he’s saying suck it if you don’t want gay affection “pushed in your face”.

    Good for the editor of the paper – and it is pretty damn amazing that a country that has had legal gay marriage for 4 years would react so intensely over a photo like this. Even more so, good for the GLBT students who participated in the event in the first place.

  8. CKNJ says

    I actually attended Stellenbosch University for a while… was in residence there. That was back in the early 80’s, before the change of government and attitudes… it was conservative compared to the University of Cape Town, but I would have thought that the braindead backward conservative morons would have long since faded into obscurity there. Sadly seems not to be the case.

    I am heartened, though, to see that the paper was progressive enough to print this, and I applaud the editor. I am also glad that the photo boosted circulation, it gives one hope!

    To those criticizing the editor and skeeved out by the photo: “Get a life… gay marriage has been legal in South Africa for years! Get used to it!”

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