Straight Man Gets Gay-Shamed In Homophobic Airport Prank
Straight stay-at-home-dad (and blogger) Aaron received quite the shock when he picked up his luggage in New Zealand at the Jetstar Airways baggage carousel.
This was the site that welcomed him:
— Sleepysaurus Rex! (@aaronpp) October 13, 2013
Jetstar has since issued the requisite apologies and has launched an investigation that Aaron is assisting them with, but what we found most interesting was his reflection on the events.
Here's an excerpt from his blog entry after the fact.
My suitcase was the first bag on the carousel. The entire flight's passengers were shoulder-to-shoulder looking for their bags and I'm pretty sure that most people would've seen mine rattling along the rollers. I saw a big red case approaching and excused my way through the throng in order to retrieve it. I noticed some white bits on the side and turned back, apologising to the people who I had just pushed passed. "False alarm," I said to one gent. Then I realised that it actually was my bag and that the white bits were the sign you see in the image above.
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 emblazened across my luggage as a celebration. It was used as a pejorative. It was used to humiliate. It was used as a slur.
It's always interesting to see someone's eyes opened. In this case Aaron was awakened to his "trifecta of privilege" and it appears that it's encouraged him to use his voice in support of those that may not have those same privileges.
What do you think about the Jetstar luggage prank and Aaron's reflection on it, Instincters?