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Museum apologizes for ejecting lesbian couple from Gertude Stein exhibit

(JTA) — A lesbian couple was reprimanded by a guard for holding hands and asked to leave an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco — an incident for which the museum quickly apologized.

The couple was attending the exhibit "Seeing Gertude Stein" on July 17. The exhibition about the famous American lesbian writer, poet and art collector includes photographs, paintings and sculptures and focuses on the personal life of Stein, who was herself a lesbian.

The guard worked for a private security company and was not representing museum policy, a museum spokesman said. The Guardsmark company reprimanded the guard and said it would provide sensitivity training to guards assigned to the museum, according to reports.

"The guard’s behavior resulted in an event that cannot be allowed to happen again," Connie Wolf, the museum’s director and CEO, said in a letter. "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."

The museum announced Thursday that it would host a "Hand Holding Day" on July 24 featuring previously scheduled  performances by the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco.