It is not often that I end up shaking in town after being spoken to by someone. However, that is what happened earlier this evening.
The background is that I had been sitting in Costa waiting for Andrew to meet me after returning to Belfast after his day at work. He had to nip to the WC, so we both went upstairs as we were planning to go to Gourmet Burger Kitchen for tea – it’s right next door to the WCs in Victoria Square.
Earlier in the afternoon I had collected the business cards for Faith and Pride that had been printed and was going to show Andy one when he returned from visiting the WC.
So, there I was, waiting for Andrew, who had just gone to the loo, and I bent down on one knee (quite like a genuflexion) and was opening the packet of 1000 business cards to extract one to show him, when along comes the security guard.
What are you doing? Are you going to hand anything out here?
he said. I replied that I wouldn’t dream of doing so as I knew it was against the policies of Victoria Square. Off went the guard, and out of the loo came Andrew. Being quite surprised at what had just happened, I was telling Andrew what had happened, and had indicated which member of staff it was who had asked me. As we continued to talk, I handed over the card that I had extracted from the large packet which was back in my backpack.
Andrew said that the card looked well – and I must agree that I think it does too. Enter the security guard again:
Can I help you?
to which I responded.
No. I’m just talking to my husband.
and the response back was
and his jaw dropped. He then looked very surprised and it felt like he disapproved. We continued to talk, and we noticed that he continued to eye us somewhat warily. We both felt like we were not welcome in the shopping development. This was particularly hurtful as we had been there immediately following our civil partnership on 6 May for some photographs in the Dome.
Andrew went to ask the security guard for his name and to speak to his manager. The security guard initially refused to give this information – but then called his supervisor over. Andrew was then invited to give a statement to the supervisor which he has done. We wait to see the outcome of this.
In the meantime, the security guard who spoke to me initially came over to apologize. He said that he
[had] no problem with homosexuals – as [he] had served with them in the Army.
He stated that his reaction was a knee jerk one. After Andrew emerged from his discussions with the supervisor, the security guard came over again to apologize once more – and said that he had learnt from this and that he wouldn’t react in the same way again. Let’s hope that he has learnt his lesson.