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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

AIRLINE PLASTERS "I AM GAY" ON PASSENGER'S SUITCASE


The Australian low-cost airline Jetstar has apologized after a passenger's suitcase was plastered with “I Am Gay” in stickers.

The incident, which occurred over the weekend at Perth Airport, attracted international attention after the passenger, a married father of two, wrote about it on his blog OneSleepyDad.

“I know nobody there. It was after midnight and the flight delayed over an hour … idle hands, perhaps,” he tweeted on Sunday in response to questions that he might have been the target of a joke.

He explained in his blog post that his suitcase was the first to arrive on the carousel.

“I plucked the suitcase off the carousel and had many eyes look me up and down. I was taken aback by the slogan but thought I had thick enough skin to ignore the leering. My connecting flight was about to board so I had to speed through the terminal to check in with Qantas. As I dragged the case through the terminal, I looked back at the people I had passed and they too looked at me differently. My luggage was a scarlet letter.”

“I am a white heterosexual male. This trifecta of privilege means that I'm not routinely subjected to prejudice. But for a few minutes I got to walk in the shoes of a gay person in a public place. For no good reason I had had a slur marked over my luggage. I was degraded. I was shamed. I was humiliated.”

“For me, this was only a few minutes of one day of my life. If what I felt for those few minutes is extrapolated out every day over a lifetime, then I can fully understand why our gay friends feel persecuted and why they have such high rates of suicide. It is unacceptable.”

“It is said that words can't hurt you. That it is true. But it isn't the words that hurt, it's the intention behind them. 'I am gay' was not emblazoned across my luggage as a celebration. It was used as a pejorative. It was used to humiliate. It was used as a slur.”

“Some people have been commenting that it's probably just some loser in backrooms making a distasteful joke. Or that Jetstar has a culture of homophobia. Unfortunately, the mistreatment of our gay friends spans society. It goes all the way up to our political leaders and includes such luminaries as our Prime Minister. Our laws ensure that homosexuals are not afforded the same rights and dignities that many of us straight people take for granted every day,” he added, a reference to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is opposed to legalizing gay marriage.

The airline said in a statement that it was conducing a “thorough investigation” into the incident.


“We are taking this matter very seriously and we have contacted the passenger to apologize for any distress caused,” a spokesperson said.

SOURCE: ON TOP MAG

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