Olympic volleyball star Douglas Souza reveals he and his boyfriend dealt with homophobic airport staff while traveling in Europe.
Souza is originally from Brazil and is a gold medal-winning volleyball player. He won the gold with the Brazilian men’s national volleyball team in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games. He also has a massive Instagram following with over 3 million followers.
Yesterday, September 8, Souza retold the unfortunate incident in his Instagram stories. The 26-year-old shared that he had a connection through the Netherlands on his journey to Italy. But unfortunately, the customs and immigration official in charge of him did not respond well to Souza’s boyfriend Gabriel.
“I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to carry this energy, but I’ll tell it more or less,” the athlete started, according to Queerty. “Basically, it was me and my boyfriend, we took a flight from São Paulo to Amsterdam and there we had to go through passport control to go to Rome.”
He added, “Until then everything was calm. By the time we went to control, the guy was super cool, he asked me what I was going to do in Italy, I explained that I was a volleyball player, that I had been hired by that team. Then he asked who Gabriel was and I explained.”
Souza then shares that the customs and immigration officer was visibly affected by the reveal that the two were dating.
“He asked what Gabriel was going to do there, I showed him in the stable union document,” Souza explained. “I said he would accompany me.”
The couple was then moved to a holding area and left there for five hours. After several hours, Souza says he was put into another room and asked what he was going to do there. As Souza says, the entire situation was “strange.”
“They hit the key again about who Gabriel was and I tried to explain that it was my boyfriend and they had a lot of difficulty understanding,” he added. “We had the document of the common-law marriage. They absolutely didn’t want to let Gabriel pass.”
Thankfully, Douglas Souza says the couple was allowed to leave the airport and country after a few more hours.
As Souza says, the situation and story feels somewhat strange. After all, the Netherlands is one of the most progressive countries when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance. It was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2001. The country also declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973 and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, and more in 1994.
That said, no country or place is completely safe. Homophobes can be found anywhere and everywhere. After all, there have been recent reports of a surge in anti-gay violence in the Netherlands. In that case, however, the violence has been centered around men visiting gay cruising spots. Though, thankfully, four men were recently arrested in connection to those crimes.
As for Douglas Souza and his boyfriend Gabriel, they say they just want to leave the moment in their past.