Monday, 14 October 2013

That Horrible Suitcase


"I AM GAY" was plastered over my suitcase while in transit...a response.

Having missed out a night's sleep, I am quite tired at this moment and ask that any mechanical language errors below be treated kindly.

Here is the original tweet.
(See also my follow-up post about
going viral -- surviving the Internet)
Yesterday I tweeted a photo of my luggage after a Jetstar flight from Perth and it has caused quite the stir on social media. It has burst out of my own digital echo chamber and has been reverberating around the world for the past 24 hours.

I would like to point out that Jetstar has contacted me and offered a very sincere apology. For which I am grateful.

They are also conducting a "serious" investigation that I am assisting them with. Their PR machine is making all the right noises and saying all the right things. I have set no expectations of Jetstar with regards to their procedures or outcomes.

I have also been approached by media of all forms from around the globe but I have not offered any comment or answered any questions. Whatever you read/hear/see is based purely on the content of my Twitter feed and the posts in this blog. In the age of soundbites and limited column inches, I am not confident that anything I say won't be used out of context for the sake of time/space limits. Also, I can't keep up with the requests so I apologise if you don't get a personal and polite decline to your queries.

What I would like to share with you is what happened from the point where my luggage is on the carousel. I won't speculate as to what happened in the lead up.

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.

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.

Until our political/religious/community leaders acknowledge and address these inequalities, until we de-normalise prejudice, we can't expect the "losers" to follow.

As for the people calling me a whiner and telling me to toughen up, I would like to quote Lieutenant General David Morrison: The standard you walk past is the standard you accept

This incident isn't about me, it's about what we as a society find acceptable. 

158 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for publishing this and reflecting on the issue of privilege and the way the word 'gay' is used as an insult. Great post! Shame the Age's initial story about the incident didn't pick up on ANY of these issues.

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  2. Thank you for the tone of your article NOT being "HOW DARE THEY CALL ME GAY WHEN I'M NOT I'M SO HUMILIATED TO BE COMPARED TO ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE." :)

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    1. I would be more annoyed that someone had scribbled all over my bag and I would complain to the Management about it. They should make the person who did it take off the scribble and a warning should be given to them about being so stupid in the future.

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    2. Oh my, yes! Give them a stern talking to, and give them the tough task of peeling of stickers...

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  3. As a Gay man...I thank you. Your response to this is amazing and thought provoking. And all I can say is thank you again

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    1. I couldn't have said it better myself, so I am completely agreeing with Bill!

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    2. Yes, a simple thank you for sharing your experience and walking through the airport in our shoes.

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    3. The words are not what hurt, but the looks from the people who 'look down' or 'look in disgust' at another human being. A person who has done no harm verbally or physically to anyone else; is judge as not equal or deserving.
      I thank you for your approach to this situation you were put in. The person or people who thought it was a joke or a way to demoralize another person; it speaks more of them & how little they know or understand about being civilized; no...being human, I think is a better choice of words here.

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    4. Yes, thank you. It's heartening to know that we gays have such friends in the straight community.

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  4. What a well rounded, and thought provoking article - my hat goes off to you for having such great insight and courage in a country that is still (secretly) quite homophobic.

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  5. My immediate reaction is simply: how weird! Second reaction: kudos to you for using this bizarre incident to do a bit of reflection and consciousness raising!

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  6. Beautifully written. Thank you.

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  7. I'm not a fan. You're an extremely intelligent and well-read writer, to be sure, but I don't like the inspiration of the blog post.
    This isn't a particularly girly or "gay-looking" bag, stereotypically speaking. These guys had no reason to believe you were homosexual. They were just being stupid and playing a joke. I really don't think this was homophobic or intended as prejudicial in any way.

    Just to humour me, I'd like to know if you would be as outraged if they had written "I am a dick" or even "I am stupid".

    It just feels to me that this is less about you being slurred as gay and more about you feeling bullied. And of course bullying is also despicable, I'm just saying that the focus on being called gay is perhaps not the most productive way to handle it.

    I'd like to see more "These dickheads I trusted with my luggage vandalised my shit" and less "These people called me gay".

    Those are just my thoughts. It's a very well-written article and I hope Jetstar compensates you for your grievance.

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    1. Did it occur to you that the fact that some people in the back rooms of Jetstar thought it was funny and a joke to put 'I am gay' on a random person's luggage (if that is in fact what happen) is problematic in itself? Why is it funny to tag someone's baggage 'I am gay'? Why is it a joke?

      The people who find things like this funny are homophobic, and the context of this 'joke' indicates there may be a cultural problem at Jetstar, which (sadly), reflects not a small part of society.

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    2. I respectfully disagree with your comment. It appears to me like you barely read this article, or misinterpreted it completely. "They were just being stupid and playing a joke" - because writing "I am gay" is a joke? Writing "I am gay" is the equivalent of writing "I am a dick" or "I am stupid"? That is where the prejudice comes in - of the workers who did this, and in your very own comment.

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    3. my reading of this is about the word 'gay' IS being used as interchangeable with 'dick' or 'stupid'. for no good reason it is used daily (as Macklemore would say) as a cheap insult. and that i think IS worth blogging about. xt

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    4. Of course it did. As an alternative to the examples I provided, here's one with probably a little more relevance to the current problem.
      What if this fine gent, and I don't think he's provided a name so I'll simply call him OneSleepyDad, received his bag back and it had "I am a girl" written across it?

      Would that be more offensive? Less offensive? Equally so?

      As I said, this is awful, I just think that it's more a case of vandalism and even harassment than it is a case of homophobia, and I think people should be less worried about some idiots calling someone gay and more worried about whether Jetstar employees are tagging heir suitcases.

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    5. > Would that be more offensive? Less offensive? Equally so?

      Equally so. In both cases, the 'joke' lies in the idea that OneSleepyDad (or $randomairlinepassenger, as presumably the baggage handlers didn't know exactly who they were targetting) should be put down by being labelled as something inferior.

      To the minds of the jerks who would do this, I suspect it would probably be less 'funny' to write "I am a girl" on someone's bag as statistically the chances of the bag owner *actually* being female are somewhat higher than that of the bag owner actually being gay... but TBH I'm not at all sure I understand what went on in their minds anyway.

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    6. *their

      Also, just a quick little reply to Erin Moss, and I truly don't intend to start any sort of comment war, I just wanted to give the author my thoughts.
      That being saaaaaid, of course I read the article, and it wasn't misinterpreted. In fact, I directly responded to the message in it. I don't really see how you could read my comment and believe there was a misinterpretation and not a simply disagreement.

      My comment was not prejudiced,and the reason I recoil to the extent I do at that accusation is that I've actually done a lot of volunteer work in regards to anti-bullying, including matters of homophobia, and am certainly not prejudiced towards any particular group of people.

      To break it down to avoid confusion, because I truly was not trying to defend the actions of the dullards who would graffiti a customer's luggage with a slur, I'm simply saying that the vandalism should have more of a focus.

      For example

      Situation 1: Person A walks past Person B on the street. Person A says "You're gay" as he walks past.

      Situation 2: Person A walks up to Person B's bag and writes "I am boring" on it in stickers.

      I personally believe, and I can't stress enough how non-homophobic I am, that Situation 1 is an idiot exercising his freedom of speech to spout ignorant nonsense, and Situation 2 is a criminal act that deserves prosecution.

      I'll leave it at that, and I hope it's agreeable to you.

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    7. I understand where you're coming from sir, because when I first started reading the article, it was my expectation too that that is what it would be about. However, and generally when I re-read back to the point where OP writes " I am not confident that anything I say won't be used out of context for the sake of time/space limits.", it makes me understand that he is largely aware of what he COULD be blogging about, but is instead using his experience to dissect a much more deep-seeded issue.

      There are repercussions for calling out a big-name company, especially the big-name company who can compensate him more than anyone else (such as his blog readers) can. More pointedly, degrading Jetstar because a couple of their workers vandalized his luggage in some silly prank is hardly a tall thing to do. What more is there to appreciate from a blog post like that, other than "What a disgrace Jetstar is!" or "Poor you, they don't even know you and they called you gay"?

      This post may not have been what you'd expected but I think there's a lot more to appreciate from it than a simple pity-fish and name-call. In fact that's precisely what the OP seems to be against.

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    8. Alex's post is so gay.

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    9. I still think you're missing the point. Petty vandalism isn't all that much of an issue for me. It's literally the fact that people are using the word "gay" as an insult.
      I wouldn't care if someone labelled by bag with the word dickhead, or cunt, or whatever the best insults are these days. It is literally as someone else described above - that "gay" is a word that can be used interchangeably with "stupid" or "dick".
      Also, worse than this, I think anonymous above implied that he was labelled as something inferior. I'm not sure if that was intended, or came out wrong...

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    10. Another way to look at it, is that Gay has become an acceptable form of saying something is bad, whereas slurs to do with skin colour, religion and sex has not; or not in acceptable society by any means. Some people are sick of gay rights, which is where I suspect your stance comes from but the fact remains, some human beings are not afforded the same right as others.

      We all deserve the same rights and I am wondering whether you have ever experienced anything in your life, Alex, where you've been subject to predjudice?

      I am guessing not.

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    11. I had written a long winded response trying to explain why your post was offensive and considered homophobic by many, and yet I decided to drop it as I fear your understanding of prejudice is highly limited. "OneSleepyDad" is correct in insinuating that the biggest problem with this vandalism (and your response) is that it is still considered a tolerable pejorative to call someone "gay". If a racial slur were used, this discussion would not have occurred. I assume you understand racism better than homophobia and would then have acknowledged the DUAL problem with this story, and that the greater of the two evils is not the vandalism but the fact that our culture still believes it is "funny" to use slurs and to mock minorities and vulnerable groups.

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    12. Alex, I don't think your examples "break it down" or avoid confusion; I think they add to it. I'm sure we can take it as a given that the author was pissed off at having his bag defaced in the first instance. There's not much meat in that story, because it would be the reaction of most of us in the same situation.

      But given the particular form that the defacement took, he's chosen to reflect on the possible mindset of people who would consider "I am gay" to be a shameful thing for someone to be labeled with, and by extension, how gay people must feel knowing this sentiment is out there. It's a moment of empathy towards others, not just his reaction to the basic event itself, which would be straightforward and hardly worth setting down in more than 20 words.

      I think you're either missing the point he was trying to make, or are doing a bit of concern trolling. There's certainly no need to go to quite this extent of I'm-not-prejudiced-buttery simply to make the point that you'd expected the author's concerns to be more aligned with your own.

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    13. @Erin Moss

      >Also, worse than this, I think anonymous above implied that he was labelled as something inferior.

      Hi, I'm the Anon at 14 October 2013 19:52 who I think you're responding to here! Sorry, I think I didn't make myself clear -- I meant that *in the mind of the person doing the vandalism*, calling OneSleepyDad 'gay' (or, in Alex's hypothetical alternative', 'a girl') would be putting him down by calling him something that said vandal perceived as derogatory/inferior. I definitely don't think that being gay or being a girl is inferior -- after all, I'm both! :)

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    14. In the discussion about the implications of using the name of a minority as an insult we must understand that it is the first step onto a slippery slope. It holds the key to the community complacency of phobic and racist behavior. It is a form of bullying and discrimination. It shows contempt for the minority in that it presents them as less than other groups for the insult or joke to have value to the perpetrators. Unfortunately unchecked it leads to a race to the bottom and no one is better at that than bigots. There's to much acceptance of these kinds of derogatory uses of names , you can ignore it but it will not improve the situation.

      When bigots fail with words they unfortunately resort to more physical actions. It will be a good thing if the perpetrators can be exposed as the bigots they are, and there is no excuse for such behavior.

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    15. Alex, I think the point of the post wasn't so much reaction to being called "gay" as much as it was to experience the reaction of people in the airport regarding Aaron as "gay."

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    16. You think that gay is equivalent to stupid or asshole or dick. That says a lot about what kind of clueless bigot you are.

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    17. I think Randy has made the important point here. Although the OP is partly about the attribution of homosexuality as a form of abuse, surely the wider point was that OneSleepyDad had a revealing experience of what it might be like to be noticed as gay in public. He noticed the way people were looking at him and he found it distinctly unpleasant.

      This is why you rarely see same-sex couples publicly displaying affection. People may well be out to family and friends but still feel closeted in public - because we are in a society where "disagreeing" with accepting gay people is still promoted as some sort of morally correct idea. Random acts of violence or abuse are still to be reasonably anticipated.

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    18. "less "These people called me gay"."

      Did you even read the article? He's not mad he was called gay. The entire focus of the article was the experience people that are actually gay have everyday, which has nothing to do with being called gay, and everything to do with the way they are treated by those who perceive them as such.

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    19. I just have to comment. I see both sides, including what Alex is saying. Most of the people are offended because they believe someone childish and immature (but using the word homophobic) to describe whomever decided to write that on the backpack. That's totally understandable. You don't have to hate gay people to write "I am gay" on someone's bag though. Alex is pointing out that there's just people doing it for comedic value. I'm gay and I kind of laughed while reading the story about him walking through the airport with that on his bag. I found comedic value in something. People 'do it for the lulz' -- they don't have to have precursor or motives. Alex just has a different opinion about the motives of the reasoning to put the words "I am gay" on a bag. Yes, OneSleepyDad did say that he felt different walking through because of how people were looking at him and that made him feel the way he felt. OneSleepyDad continued on to describe how it made him feel. Alex just didn't understand that so Alex couldn't agree and was trying to find the reasoning that it made OneSleepyDad feel that way.

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    20. Alex, your remarks are completely off message. One Sleepy Dad started his narrative by stating "What I would like to share with you is what happened from the point where my luggage is on the carousel. I won't speculate as to what happened in the lead up."

      He made no assertions about the person who did this. No implied motive or what the person may feel about the use of derogative name calling. He wrote about HIS OWN feelings about the incident. He wrote about his brief experience of knowing the hurt brought about by anonymous hate and the embarrassment and humiliation the stigma caused him as he hurried to his connecting flight.

      Your initial compliment "You're an extremely intelligent and well-read writer, to be sure..." certainly has no credibility coming from you. You claim to have read the article which tells me your reading comprehension is rather low. Further, you ignorant comparisons are simply asinine.

      As a Gay man, I can tell you that even though your ideas are obviously from a limited thinker, they still sting and hurt in a way One Sleepy Dad was trying to convey to you. You simply don't get it.

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    21. With respect, I think you missed Dad's point - yes, he is outraged at the vandalism to his bag, but much more deeply he realized that he lived in a world where his real and presumed heterosexuality gave him privilege everywhere he went, and the baggage handlers took that away.

      Until they did that he had no real awareness of the bubble of protection it afforded him. It was food for thought on his part and an opportunity to reflect on it. A chance to give people a way to sit back and think "What if suddenly everywhere I went everyone who looked at me thought I was something less-than, something 'minority'?"

      He got a crash-course in empathy. He has learned from it. How about you?

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    22. Alex, I feel your attempting to playing a fools game of semantics. The context of this kind of graffiti in our society is not a complicated or nuanced one. I'm left to wonder why you are going out of your way to muddy the waters so much?

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    23. Alex, I think what you're missing here is the point. Being stupid and being a dick are both bad things. You call people that cut you off when you're merging lanes "dicks". You associate people that repeatedly push a door marked pull as "stupid". Being gay is not a bad thing. I do not believe that whomever put this on this mans luggage meant it as a statement of fact, similar to "I am 5"2" or "I am a sales assistant". It was intended as an insult - or as you termed it, a joke - though sexual orientation is neither of these things.

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    24. Thanks anon with the "inferior" comment for clearing that up. I was hoping it was that sort of misunderstanding :)

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    25. Alex, as a gay man myself, I couldn't agree with you more.

      While I respect the context in which the article is written, for One Sleepy Dad to state "But for a few minutes I got to walk in the shoes of a gay person in a public place", shows a level of ignorance. Gays don't just get judged and starred at the way One Sleepy Dad makes it sounds whenever they step foot in public, just because they are gay. I have not received many, if any at all, hate crimes or negative reactions just by walking down the street. The only people who give me shit for being gay are my close friends. And it's not an act of homophobia. To me, it shows they have zero problems with me being gay. Growing up, we have always given each other shit for anything we can just for the fun of it (the same way you see in many close "heterosexual" male friendships). I would hope that they wouldn't stop just because they feel like they have to "tip toe" around the fact that I'm gay. So with that said, that is not even close to walking in the shoes of gay man, because walking in the shoes of a gay man is not a tough life 99.99% of the time.

      Basically what I just want to say is that I agree with Alex in that it was simply a joke. While, I'm not saying it is acceptable, for this to blow up to the level it has, is a little ridiculous. And while I'm also not saying calling people "gay" is politically correct by any means, but it shouldn't be taken into offense that way so many people take it.

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    26. I see that while a few people have acknowledged the merit of what I'm trying to say, most disagree and believe that I am off-topic.

      I don't believe I can explain myself any better than I already have, so I'll apologise now for giving what was obviously a non-constructive post.

      That being said, I'm offended at being called prejudicial myself. As I've stated, I've actually done quite a lot on the front of anti-bullying and anti-discrimination, and even won a few small awards for my efforts. I am not gay, it's true, and I can acknowledge that my understanding will always be flawed in comparison to homosexuals because of that.

      I am, however, not caucasian, and have had more than my fair share of exposure to prejudice. I do understand what this guy is saying, despite what some of you are saying, and that's why I've been able to respond to it and start an (admittedly not-so-positive) conversation in the comments section.

      The personal attacks on me are unwarranted and unnecessary, and somewhat ironic given the greater context of this blog. I've been very deliberate with my word choices and maintained a friendly and professional demeanour, and degenerating into name-calling and insults against my intelligence is simply cruel.

      Again, I'm sorry to everyone offended, especially any homosexual folk who feel I've insulted them personally, and I'm glad at least a few people understood where I was coming from, which is a place empty of hatred.

      I'll end with a final assurance that I do not feel any human being is born better than another. I'd just be more offended by someone vandalising my suitcase than I would be if I were addressed by a racial slur.

      I won't be posting again

      Alex

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    27. I don't accept your response, Alex. It's really simple, and you're being stubborn. The problem is that the word "gay" is being used as an insult. Gay people and their supporters are upset about this. The word "gay", in this case, is synonymous with inferiority. It's a cultural issue of disrespect. I don't care if you don't think that's worth being offended by. I don't care if you would rather be offended by vandalism than homophobic slurs, by dismissing it, by telling people that the thing they are concerned about is not worth being concerned about, and trying to steer the discussion toward your own personal issues with the post, you are speaking over the underprivileged and denying them their voice. You are telling people they are not allowed to be upset by something they are upset by. And they're mad at that. They have every right to be.

      Stop being part of the problem, have some humility.

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    28. I don't think that's even really the problem here. I mean, it is, don't get me wrong. The fact that words like "gay" and "retard" and a whole camp of other words are used as perjoratives is a big problem.

      The overarching message here seems to be the societal stigma of a simple sexual preference. The simple fact that even if OneSleepyDad had actually been gay, the very idea that it was publicized on his bag speaks to the response people had AROUND him.

      As I read this article I thought, "So what? Some kids think it's a funny prank to put 'I AM GAY' in stickers on someone's luggage." Upon further reading, I realized I was more upset at people looking down on OneSleepyDad. In accordance with what he says: the problem begins and ends with society as a whole, not some pimply faced kid in the back of an airport carousel.

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  8. Thank you for moving beyond such a strange event to being empathetic enough to think about how it would feel for a gay person to live that judgement every day of their lives. Your blog title 'stay at home dad striving to raise fearless little freethinkers' is clearly what you are living. Thank you.

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  9. what a wonderful place to get to … seems in this case it really was the journey more so than the destination. much love! xt

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  10. Excellent post, thanks for writing this.

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  11. As a queer person... thank you so much for writing this. I can't believe that in 2013, those airline baggage handlers actually thought that was a remotely appropriate way to act, but your incredibly positive and open-minded reaction to it goes some way towards making it better.

    To Alex at 19.21 above: Writing 'I am gay' on someone's suitcase is not the same thing as writing 'I am a dick' or 'I am stupid'. The fact that you're suggesting it is, well, that's kinda where the problem lies.

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  12. Excellent article, thank you.

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  13. Definitely got the right attitude mate. Hats off to you.

    Justine

    www.trixacola.com

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  14. Very well written post to what is an underlying problem, as you suggested. My province in eastern Canada was rocked this week when a 27 yr old gay man was attacked and stabbed after leaving a club by a stranger; this young man is now paralyzed from the waist down and still in hospital. His crime? For being gay in a small town and having the audacity to be who he is - proudly out. We thought we lived in an enlightened part of Canada, but never presume anything.

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  15. He's describing being seen as a 'gay' person instead of his usual 'privilege', and using that to make a point, that calling people 'gay' as an insult is wrong. The fact that it's vandalism may be a valid topic but that's not the point he wishes to make.

    OP, I'm glad you used this event to make such a well-written, valid point that resonates around the whole world.

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  16. What a brilliant response to some mindless, thoughtless oafs who thought this would be funny. Why is making fun of someone's sexuality seen as less offensive than making fun of someone's race? The latter is against the law, the former regarded as a joke.Not acceptable. I fear Australian society still has a long way to go. You are a class act, sir.

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  17. Hi, there are silly people everywhere so unless the baggage handlers knew who you are I doubt that this was targeted. I have never felt degraded, shamed or humiliated for being gay. Is your discontentment from being considered gay or that someone thought it a funny joke at gay's expense? Thank you to the baggage handlers for the reminder to review the EEO policy. Graham

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  18. Another way of responding is SO WHAT? Why is being called gay an insult? The best way of dealing with that is to just say "And?". I understand the points raised in this blog, but it just disarms the issue if you don't see the label of Gay as being at all offensive in the first place. Have you seen the fabulous Stonewall Campaign in the UK: "Some people are gay: get over it!" If someone shouts "your gay", or "gay" to me in the street I just shout back "and so?"

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    1. I have to both agree and disagree with this. If we own something, they cannot use it against us. But at the same time, when I was a teenager and going to school, I constantly heard the phrase "that's so gay" or "how gay" being thrown about in a derogatory manner.

      So on one hand, own it, and they cannot use it. But as a young teenager discovering yourself and still trying to understand what it means to be gay, and being continuously hearing slander towards homosexuals, you start developing this ideal that being gay must be bad / wrong / horrible / degrading.

      If I wrote it on my own suitcase, then I would own it. And if some stranger wrote it, not knowing who owns it, or what will happen to it, then SO WHAT!

      So for me, this is why I say SO WHAT!? Because it does matter.

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    2. I'm with Mike SE17. All this rhetoric of "disgusting", "disgraceful" and "unforgivable" is just fuelling the perception that there's something wrong with being gay.

      Being homosexual just happens to be another attribute you are born with, like having brown skin or blonde hair. In this case, what the handler wrote on the luggage happens to be inaccurate. It could also be accurate. It shouldn't matter either way.

      By projecting all this outrage, we're just reinforcing the intended message of gay = negative. I say take the wind out of their sails by saying "so what".

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    3. Sorry but MikeSE17 and anon above, you are way off. "So what" is simply not a good enough response when gay youth have 6 times the suicide rate of straight youth. "So what" shrugs at discrimination...but OneSleepyDads post stands up to discrimination and says 'enough'.

      And to compare it to the Stonewall Campaign "Some people are gay: get over it!" is completely missing that the Stonewall slogan is a *campaign*, that is, a collective push back against the status quo - not an individual seeing prejudice and being told that they shouldn't challenge the injustice. Indeed, in quoting that Stonewall campaign you actually turned it into the opposite of the anti-homophobic stand it takes.

      Shrugging in the face of oppression always helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. Kudos to OSD for *not* shrugging.

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  19. I applaud you for your well written, very level headed account of what happened. More so, from the little I have read on the media, you have started that you didn't want the person responsible to be fired, but instead educated and more understanding in the Jetstar workforce. And I think that is an extremely smart response to something that the media could take too far.

    Some people have argued that Jetstar should compensate you, my two cents would be, if Jetstar PR Machine was to try and do anything money worthy, should be going towards GLBT community groups.

    As a gay male, I found growing up in Australia extremely difficult at times. Now in my mid 20s and living in Europe, I have found most people don't even bat an eye lid if you are holding another man's (or woman's) hand - well expect for the 'tourist'. I have seen more openly gay couples here, than I have seen in Melbourne or Sydney. This within itself makes me question how "open" and "accepting" we really are in Australia. Then again all we need to do is just look at our PM, Tony "family value" Abbott and how he treats his own family.

    Now I am going off topic, but I just wanted to conclude once again that from a "hetrosexual" point of you, your article was a great read, and one I would like to thank you for expressing yourself in a down-to-earth and level headed way.

    I hope you caught up on your sleep by now

    ReplyDelete
  20. Snaps to you sir. I am crushing on you so hard right now.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wonderful stuff. Being gay isn't wrong, using "gay" as an insult - even in jest - is.

    Much kudos to you for your humanity, compassion and thoughtfulness.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The sad thing here is that people even feel the need to say thank you for the opinion you have or presenting this incident in the way you have. It proves how far we really have to come before we approach equality. Hopefully one day it won't even occur to people that calling someone "gay" could be an insult.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You probably did it yourself you useless loser. Who else would especially if they have the time to write a stupid blog. Good publicity though, but a few more hits won't make you any less of a tool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see you have the time to read and comment on a 'stupid blog'. Not the sharpest tool in the box are you, sweetheart?

      Delete
  24. Hi,
    as someone that has alot of experience of baggage handling (working for airlines) I am astounded that any baggage handler would have the time or interest to do something like this. It is perfectly feasible that baggage handlers would use the term "gay" of name calling, however ...... What i struggle with is having the time, energy, privacy or mindset to print off stickers and deface luggage. Baggage handling is a very automated process. Handlers take bags from and to aircraft holds and place them on conveyor belts under the eye of cameras, security staff and management - baggage areas are fast paced, busy and contrary to popular belief have very strict time targets - this kind of defacement would be exceptionally difficult to manage especially on the first bagge through! . In additon, Baggage handlers do not handle the little stickers indicating the flight or destination,this is done by counter staff. There is a wide variety of checks and balances to ensure handlers do not actually "handle" luggage they process it. I appreciate this sentiment but afraid the facts don't really stack up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it depends on which airport one works at.

      I've been a baggage handler myself. While at my (admittedly smaller) facility there ARE cameras everywhere, there's plenty of time to fiddle with bags, especially if folks check in early for a flight that hasn't even arrived at the gate yet. Security folks? They're usually on the other side of the conveyor belt 'window' at our facility. Once they've done their checks they rarely venture into the actual baggage handling area. Same goes for management.

      While it is more often than not a fast-paced environment, at times it's not.

      Those bags sit there in a holding cart. There's also plenty of time to get extra blank baggage tickets - normally used for manual re-routing - to stick on a bag. So really, the facts can EASILY stack up - just not from your POV.

      Delete
  25. Whether they wrote 'I have an STD' or 'I am gay' or 'I have big genitals' it would still make people do a double take. It is not something you write on your luggage for all to see. The problem is the vandalism aspect. There are a number of attention seeking slogans that could be plastered on luggage and people would look and snigger...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Nice try you gaylord. Finally you have some visitors on your stupid blog you attention seeker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now you are just showing your stupidity! Grow up and get a life. Get a hobby if you have to!

      Delete
    2. "Attention seeker". Tone down with the self-shaming, would you?

      Delete
  27. Ignore (then again, no, leave the homo-haters' comments on) the people above. You speak well. Brilliant breakdown of your thoughts, Aaron. I am thankful there are people like you who can articulate what it's like to be in 'our' shoes.

    And from the looks of some of these comments, you'll get an even better insight.

    Sincerely,

    Dane B. McFadhen
    Vancouver, B.C.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Well said. Thanks for the great post.

    ReplyDelete
  29. As a gay man (with a husband in California), I appreciate your blog post. Empathy is a rare personality trait these days (as can be witnessed by a lot of the Anonymous comments) Your luggage is almost a metaphor for what it's like to live as a gay person in society. As a gay person, you are constantly being judged by everyone -- the luggage created that scenario for you. And why shouldn't society judge gay people? The state and government have already judged gay people by allowing anti-gay discriminatory laws to exist. So they're basically giving society permission to do the same. Until these hate-mongers die out -- or are ostracized by a more tolerant society, things like this will continue to happen.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  30. maybe it's my age, but if that had been done to my suitcase..I would have carried it in my arms, the I AM GAY pointing out ward and a big ass grin on my face..but like I said..I'm old..would take more than that to get to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I salute you for that. A much better response than to call it "disgusting". I'm as straight as they come but I'd defiantly wear the gay label on my way home and beam broadly at anyone who dared to look at me funny.

      Delete
  31. You have shared your experience (unfortunate though it is, hopefully any damage (if there was any) will be resolved and Jetstar will do it's best with any internal issues) with superb insight through your observations and reaction from of others. No doubt, the moment when you made the choice to grab, you knew others would begin judging you immediately. Thank you for taking the time to write about and share your experience, your points are extremely valid, particularly for anyone still living in a closet. Globally, the persecution of the LGBT community remains vicious and violent, far to often sanctioned by government and always sanctioned by some elements of religiosity (the whole 'abomination' fairy tale).

    While we are over the tipping point on Equality in many parts of the world, there remain many who continue to consider themselves as superior in their humanity and free to condemn and harm others who are different. You've now shared in the experience.

    ReplyDelete
  32. People who do awful things like sticking homophobic stickers and writing anonymous hateful comments on posts like these are generally weak and mentally retarded.. They tend to criticize and condemn anything that they cannot comprehend. Very recently, I was smirked at by by the airport ground staff while kissing my boyfriend goodbye (we were taking different flights from the same airport)..I saw them whispering and pointing towards us.. My initial reaction was to slap them..but my boyfriend sensing I was upset, held me tight and kissed again! Surprisingly, in a busy airport people had all the time in the World to checkout two guys kissing.. I could see the disapproving looks.. I believe had it been a straight couple, people wouldn't even bother as much as to look once.. but at that moment I realized all the judgmental stares, jeering and nasty disapprovals couldn't afford to steal our moment of love! Sometimes ignoring all the nonsense around is indeed blissful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. but calling people mentally retarded is okay?

      Delete
  33. Thank you so much for this post. When I saw a short article about this on the Advocate, I wasn't sure what to think, and as a queer female, I immediately prepared myself for the worst when clicking the link to your blog post. I was expecting anger of the "I can't believe I've been called gay when I'm not!" kind and unintentional homophobia, or something along those lines.

    I was so pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. Your article makes me very happy. Of course, I do wish it hadn't happened at all, but as you said so well yourself, we can't expect for it not to happen in a society that still accepts those things and a look at the comments instantly proves that: there's people who still think it's ok because "it was a joke". What I'm happy about is rather the way in which you handled (and continue to handle) the situation, and the thoughts it provoked. I hope more people start thinking about issues the way you do, hopefully without having to go through this kind of humiliation.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I just want to say thank you for the very human way that you handled this situation, and for the way that you took something negative that happened to you, and brought to light a unique perspective from a straight man. I am a 42 year old gay Canadian with a loving partner, and a younger gay brother, and it can be a struggle, but this is my life and I choose to make the very best of it, and be the best person I can to everyone I come into contact with. You obviously live that way too, so again, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  35. You know when I was in high school I was in Explorers. We took a tour of a graphic arts facility and apparently one of the other students put a sign on my back that said something to the effect of "kiss me I'm gay" or some such at least that's what someone else told me. (I wasn't by the way. For some reason I guess the anonymous bully thought it would be funny to see some grown dude mess with me when I was around 16)

    Now back then I was pissed because I was tired of being bullied by jerks, but more so because the person didn't have the sand to say it to my face.

    I applaud your response to what was done. We have to get away from insulting one another and using gay as an insult or a demeaning term. Good on you and I hope you caught up on your sleep man.

    ReplyDelete
  36. "But for a few minutes I got to walk in the shoes of a gay person in a public place."

    No you didn't. Why couldn't you take the thirty seconds or less to remove at least a few of the stickers and obscure the message? Also, I bet nobody cared. You are playing victim to the highest degree. It's pretty shameful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you actually did that, you're submitting yourself to the fact that you think the vandalism was nothing more than "a joke", which it ISN'T. "Playing victim to the highest degree"? Excuse me? That sounds like attention seeking, and that is exactly what you're doing.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous+coward. What a couple of nasty homophobes you are. Thankfully I believe in Karma.

      Delete
    3. Do you realise, Anon, that when you have to rush to catch your connecting flight (which is what he had to do), you actually don't have ANY time (that's right, not even thirty seconds) to do anything. You probably don't live in Australia, so you don't know how inefficient and slow our airports can be. Doesn't excuse being a jerk though.

      (And also, removing only a few of the stickers wouldn't have "obscured" the message. The human brain is an amazing thing, and surprisingly (to you, but not to most people), it can actually fill in blanks and make letters even when there are bits missing (WoW so AMAZING!!111!!!!)

      Delete
  37. Unlike other commenters, I have no criticism of your entirely subjective experience, but I applaud your willingness to talk about it. Thank you very much, for contributing to an important dialogue in the world today, and I hope it opens a whole new vista of insight for you, as well as others who read this. --Kristy

    ReplyDelete
  38. Yes, it is rounding the world and I found the link on my Facebook feed. I have to say that the only reason anyone would hate the responses or even the intent of the message is that they fear the loss of their own importance. Most prejudice is driven by fear...fear of losing something, in this case, fear that being "normal" starts to become fuzzy in the hater's eye. We should not fault anyone for their lack of understand, but help them to realize that no matter what, country, race, religion, orientation or belief system...we are all here in this world together and that once we learn that none of us can find true peace when there are others out there who are not at peace will be begin to see the end of judgement and prejudice. Anyone can see you could not have done this yourself....you would not have had access to be able to do it...so through fear, lack of self worth and lack of love, people are driven to hate the things that make them less needed, less important. Thanks for the post....it was very well placed.

    ReplyDelete
  39. As a gay woman, thank you for taking the time to write this story. It means a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  40. "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"

    You have a flair for the dramatic, but really. It's not like they shot your whole family, you've made a mountain from a molehill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You walk down the street and have strangers call you faggot.
      You walk down the street and have people you don't know bash you because they perceive you as different.

      Until you have walked in my shoes - you do not know what you are talking about.

      Delete
    2. I'm a gay man, life is easy. I like my shoes :)

      Delete
    3. Neil - if you really are a gay man and not just posing as one so that your bizarre point of view seems more credible then you need to take a closer look at what happens to others in your community. Just because you happen to have it easy does not diminish the very real hell that many others go through every day just because of who they are attracted to. I also wonder why you are more concerned with making a "clever" snarky comment to put this guy down instead of seeing how important it is that a straight man is talking about gay issues in a positive light. Seems to me that whether you are gay or not, you have an awful lot to learn about life and a lot of growing up to do.

      Delete
  41. AMAZING! as a single gay father I hope a lot of parentes could read this! Thank you to share with us your perplexity, it happens every single minute arround the globe, and other White Heterossexual Married Man like you does nothing to change this! thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Wow, Thank You on behalf of decent Men & Women everywhere.

    Makes no difference who you are, these things can happen to anyone because of such Bigoted Narrow-
    Minded individuals.
    Well Said.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you for your empathy and understanding.
    If everyone in the world though as you now do, there would be no discrimination, no harrasment, no bullying.

    Fewer gay kids killing themselves because their lot in life is just too hard - imagine that!!!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Alex, congratulations on the incredible empathy of your post. You're right about the "white, heterosexual, male" phenomenon....it's often all too easy for this group of society to justify anything and everything simply because they feel they fall into the just and righteous group that can do or say no wrong. Hats off to you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. The SUITCASE is gay, not you!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Not sure why "I am Gay" is supposed to be a slur? I'd think of it as a major compliment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it is more the fact that the people meant it as a slur, rather than him getting slurred at (I think that is how you would say it, not sure)

      Delete
  47. I am so sorry this happened to you. It was wrong, and you didn't deserve to have your luggage vandalized. I think it is really awesome that you had the courage to put this on your blog and hopefully this will shame the very idiots who thought they were shaming you.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Alex, you are exactly the type of person that would do something like this and think it’s funny. You are the bully and the homophobe all in one. At no time is it a joke to possible put someone is harm’s way. You need help

    ReplyDelete
  49. Bravo - very well said.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Very well written. I loved reading this. Well done sir, and best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  51. hero!!! thank you!!! for been such a cool person you are!!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Amen.
    You, good sir are a amazing man to be able to come out and share this, and be so blunt about the situation and acknowledge how narrow minded a lot of this country is!

    The Jetstar worker.... Shame On You! - Why would you deface someone elses property?

    PS. Gay = Happy! - Stuff this Homophobic crap, Im going back to the old days.... where Gay ment Happy!!!!
    <3

    ReplyDelete
  53. Who cares u big sook, its hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh Anon 10:00, How old are you? That is bullying behaviour and you are as bad as the person/people who did this.

      Delete
  54. I think some people are missing the point, yes the vandalism is wrong but what is more important is that the man got to see how a homosexual person feels every day. If it said 'Im a dick' then that would be obvious that it is someone being silly and is just trying to be offensive. The man would have to walk through the airport with people laughing. Same level of vandalism but all you would feel is silly. You wouldn't feel like an outcast and have people judge you on your sexual preference.
    The word ''gay' is a negative slang used to pay someone out, the word is also slang for a homosexual person and it also used to mean happy or joyful. Personally I try to not to use the word at all, my homosexual friends are just my friends, a person that I want to say something negative about is a dick (which is not a correct term as well) and use happy n joyful. Stop thinking that a homosexual person is any different to you.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I am not typically a blog follower and this ended up in my inbox through a friend on facebook. A huge kudos to you sir for seeing this as an opportunity to identify and address the inequities between heterosexuals and homosexuals. I love that you acknowledge your "trifecta of privilege" and were able to imagine just for a moment what it would be like to not have that privilege - to be on the receiving end of prejudice and hate. This response is mature, insightful, and caring as well as an invitation for others to join you in not accepting status quo when status quo is hostile to some. Thank-you for your courage and compassion.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Wow so many dicks responding to this. I think your response to this idiotic vandalism was spot on, and as a queer man I thank you for your empathy, and for turning such an unpleasant incident into a positive learning experience.

    ReplyDelete
  57. would you consider running for PM?? just asking, well done.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thank you!! As has been sounded many times above it is an eye opening opportunity and you have handled the situation with a perfect manner. It is really nice to read what you have written, this will help a young gay person to hold their head higher!!

    ReplyDelete
  59. I see that while a few people have acknowledged the merit of what I'm trying to say, most disagree and believe that I am off-topic.

    I don't believe I can explain myself any better than I already have, so I'll apologise now for giving what was obviously a non-constructive post.

    That being said, I'm offended at being called prejudicial myself. As I've stated, I've actually done quite a lot on the front of anti-bullying and anti-discrimination, and even won a few small awards for my efforts. I am not gay, it's true, and I can acknowledge that my understanding will always be flawed in comparison to homosexuals because of that.

    I am, however, not caucasian, and have had more than my fair share of exposure to prejudice. I do understand what this guy is saying, despite what some of you are saying, and that's why I've been able to respond to it and start an (admittedly not-so-positive) conversation in the comments section.

    The personal attacks on me are unwarranted and unnecessary, and somewhat ironic given the greater context of this blog. I've been very deliberate with my word choices and maintained a friendly and professional demeanour, and degenerating into name-calling and insults against my intelligence is simply cruel.

    Again, I'm sorry to everyone offended, especially any homosexual folk who feel I've insulted them personally, and I'm glad at least a few people understood where I was coming from, which is a place empty of hatred.

    I'll end with a final assurance that I do not feel any human being is born better than another. I'd just be more offended by someone vandalising my suitcase than I would be if I were addressed by a racial slur.

    I won't be posting again

    Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I visit a lot of different sites on the net. Many of them right wing. The pejoratives I see most frequently are gay and n*****, there are many, many others used of course. Hate is hate no matter who it's being thrown at.
      I didn't post this here to slam Alex, but only to add my comment to this thread.

      Delete
  60. This article is gay:)

    ReplyDelete
  61. I understand the point of the blog post.

    However, I don't hear any concrete proof that anyone gave him and "looks" or uttered any 'Slurs". I wonder if it was his own anticipation of such treatment. Sure he may have gotten some looks, but everyone "looks" at you at some point.

    Now, if he had heard words uttered to him where are the examples in his post? I suspect it was mainly his own internal homophobia that he projected to others.

    I am gay. I get it. I also wonder if this is blown out of proportion,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a blog post...of course it's going to be somewhat dramatic. I write blog posts all the time and do the same thing because that's simply the style of writing. I'd also say it's a brilliant PR move on his part - people are talking about it and he's definitely capitalising on the traffic.

      With the drama aside though, don't you think he's bringing up a solid issue for Australia to consider?

      Delete
  62. To link the inapproprate actions of Jetstar staff with the very public and honest comments of the Prime Minister is a cheap shot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abbott's comments may be "honest" and public but they flow from the same wellspring of anti-gay sentiment. He holds the highest office in the land and at this minute is spearheading the Government campaign in the Supreme Court to undo the great work in ACT with respects to Marriage Equality.

      He is seeking to keep gay people down, to treat them as a lesser class of people, and to normalise public prejudice against them.

      Great leaders bring their people together. The PM is tearing us apart.

      I think Sleepy Dad was quite measured in his passing and warranted comments of the PM, because it wouldn't be very hard to give the man a few black eyes by quoting his "honest" and regrettable comments on this topic.

      Delete
    2. Alex, I was with you up to the point where you decided to slur the Prime Minister. At that point you lost my support for reasons I don't need to articulate here as others have no doubt already done a good enough job.

      Delete
  63. Thanks for your post. In a way, you're the best person this could have happened to. In other words, they targeted the wrong man for this prank. I couldn't imagine a more compassionate, fearless response to this absurd act of psuedo shaming. Rather than play the role of victim, you've courageously blasted your point of view to the world, and spread your wisdom and boldness to us all. The bullies win only when we allow them to. Thanks for taking the moral high ground and making what could have been either swept under the rug or interpreted as a random act of cruelty into a discussion about how to turn injustice into a call to action for change.

    ReplyDelete
  64. AnonymousSydGirl15 October 2013 at 18:34

    Thankyou. Beautiful words. It is nice to be understood for the lives we have to live.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Good on ya mate! This is in no way patronising you but you've had a glimpse of what it feels like to be gay and labelled by the society. :-) But I'm appalled by Jetstar really. Shame of em.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Beautifully said sir! Nick, London

    ReplyDelete
  67. Part of changing the culture is to stop thinking of the word gay as a "slur." Until we do that, until the words gay and lesbian become just words nothing will change

    ReplyDelete
  68. You said in your blog "It was used to humiliate." The sad thing is that it worked. You said "I was degraded. I was shamed. I was humiliated." So being gay is shameful?

    ReplyDelete
  69. I guess I wonder if this was a frustrated closet gay person finding the first pangs of courage to admit their true self...and you wound up being the randomly chosen carrier of the sign. Perhaps this blog, your words in handling this experience will strengthen the one who marked your bag.

    ReplyDelete
  70. First I must thank you for you thoughtfulness on how you handled this! So sorry that had to happen to you let alone anyone but Im sure the insite you gained was invaluable.
    Whoever the ass wipe at the airline was hopefully will be found and fired.. If you have that much time on your hands at work, on your bosses clock, you deserve to be booted!!
    I realize this isnt about compensation, however, I would hope the airline compensated you in some way for the actions of someone in their employ.
    It is amazing how hateful and horrible some people can be, and it regards to the posters calling this man a whiner, and toughen up?? Really?? I can only imagine how they would have handled the same situation.. You sir are to be applauded!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Thank you, for standing

    ReplyDelete
  72. and another thing.... its not about calling someone gay...its about the fact of using the word gay as an insult..
    I had a conversation with a few of my employees a few years back after listening to them working in the back and calling each other, "faggot", and "thats so gay" "you're gay".. I finally went back and asked them if some of us started calling each other nigger, would that be acceptable too? For the record... HELL NO!! they are both words people like to use as a weapon and its stupid, and childish, and incredibly classless!!
    Bullies suck and need to be called out and brought down a few rungs where ever they come from regardless of they're bullying...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. gay used to mean happy. then it was taken by gay people as a badge of honour. now people use it to describe things that are rubbish. language changes, again get over it. it is nothing like using the n word

      Delete
    2. Ah, but it is Anon. You see, gay is who you are. Nigger is who you are (It used to simply mean black). So there is really no difference, except for people have realized that nigger is bad but gay is just a "joke".

      Delete
  73. Thank you for sharing this experience and for transferring it to the situation we live in. It's people like you who change the world little by little.

    ReplyDelete
  74. seriously, get over it. It's funny.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Just want to say thank you to One Sleepy Dad for your wonderful blog. Good read.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Thank you for being, what I consider, a perfect example of a citizen of the human race. These days most people do not see the wisdom of what you expressed and to so many, it is a joke. I'm not laughing. I appreciate your candor and compassion and wish more would adopt it in this world of hate slinging, blame passing, judgmental society. My sincerest regards.

    ReplyDelete
  77. As a gay serving police officer in the UK, i feel compelled to see all sides of every argument including those written above, as there isn't always one correct view of any situation. We all like to feel our side is the correct one, though all views are what usually build the complete picture. While i commend One Sleepy Dad's (OSD) very empathic and heart felt story - and i'm not in any way trying to put down his side of events - i believe there is also a much larger issue at hand that quite possibly could have offended alot more people who were present in the airport at the time. It's all too easy to imagine how OSD felt walking through the airport with his suitcase, but what of other gay persons who saw this writing on this strangers suitcase and then thought of it as a 'slur'. Could they have not seen this as offensive? Now, i'm not in anyway trying to say that OSD had in fact wrote 'I AM GAY' on his case and therefore, thought it would be a funny joke to wander through the airport. But to other people, he is a stranger and they could have easily felt that this was, in fact, what he had done. Had this incident happened at a UK airport and someone had complained, OSD would have been arrested for a homophobic hate crime, which carries with it a far greater custodial sentence than if it had just had an obscenity written on it. Obviously, in OSD's situation, i have no doubt he would have been able to argue his point and be immediately released. However, my point is, vandalism is more than just vandalism when even one person is offended by the implication of that vandalism - it immediately becomes a hate crime. In this case, a homophobic hate crime. In UK law, under Section 4a (1b) of the Public Order Act 1986, it states:

    A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting.

    So, my final point, in relation to everyone's comments above, is this isn't just merely vandalism of someone's suitcase and should never be treated as such - basically, as simply 'just' vandalism. There are far bigger and more intrusive implications which can effect alot more than just one person. We should never just see our own point of view when many more points of view exist and become equally valid if they are truly believed. We need to see the bigger picture and note that what we see as being 'our' interpretations of the exact events, doesn't mean there aren't other equally valid interpretations.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Thanks so much for a very insightful post. Yes, you do need to have a tough skin being gay for your own sanity. I'm lucky in that I've been through so much that I just don't care at all what people think of me; that's their problem not mine. Sadly, particularly amongst teenagers, this isn't so.

    Recently my partner was discriminated against at his work and, despite it being illegal, was hugely affected mentally by it. Some people just don't understand the huge pain they can case through sheer ignorance and bigotry.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hi OSD,

    Love your Blog.

    I just wanted to add this link to a Facebook Page I like and you might be interested in.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/straight-australian-men-for-gay-lesbian-rights/what-an-intelligent-thing-to-say/213768695459976

    I am going to see if the Administrators of the FB will post your Blog.

    Drew

    ReplyDelete
  80. What stopped you from taking the tags off? This is just stupid, it was a joke used for a cheap laugh nothing more, not to mention who walks around the airport with that on their bags? You're gay WOW WHAT AN INCITEFULL LOOK INTO YOUR PERSONAL LIFE who cares?

    ReplyDelete
  81. Thanks for your post. You took a personal experience out of your own feelings and into the minds of others. In this case, a glimpse of what it might feel like to feel prejudice over your sexuality. I commend you. It gives me hope that real change is beginning to happen for the queer community.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Thanks for speaking up. It means so much more coming from a straight person.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Jetstar is not even a company any more. Facts first.
    The baggage handlers work for the airport, not the airlines.

    The flights are operated by Virgin. You are smearing the name of a company that do not exist due to the actions of the airport staff. I think you should offer an apology for the misdirected outrage and take your complaints to the right people.

    Also, get over it. Sheesh. First world problems.

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    1. Oh FFS. Try reading the post, you goose. It's not even ABOUT Jetstar. How about YOU offer an apology for being a douchbag?

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  84. "As for the people calling me a whiner and telling me to toughen up, I would like to quote Lieutenant General David Morrison: The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."
    Bravo. Only a month ago I heard LG Morrison's brilliant statement to the armed services, It bought tears to my eyes then, and I applaud your reference here. I haven't been able to stop thinking about your post since I read it. Thank you.

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  85. Beautifully put.

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  86. I was going to comment on the bag incident, but everyone else has expressed it more elegantly than I ever could so I will just say that I am impressed, with you for sharing this story but also for somehow managing to have a web site with comments that aren't overrun with spam and garbage. How did you do it? I tried allowing comments on my site and within 15 minutes was overrun with adverts for all sorts of silly things.

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  87. did you have buttless chaps in your suitcase or something?

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  88. Brilliant. You used "the scarlet letter" to describe it. More people should experience the same thing to better understand what it is like. Thank you for your article.

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  89. Apple Pear ‏@ApplePear5 1m
    @aaronpp @JetstarAirways They wanted to make out the letters STRAIGHT, but you had a chode-case instead of a suit-case.

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  90. "Thanks" for making an elephant out of a mosquito, namely one (admittedly stupid and thoughtless) prank. Of course I don't buy your story in the slightest since you could have easily removed the stickers rather than dragging it like that and "feel ashamed that you are gay" and then tweeting about it and making it literally international news. By the way..hint hint, some gays do NOT feel ashamed they are gay. I personally would have laughed about such an incident, no matter if i were gay or heterosexual. For me it is much more interesting what actually goes on in your head, as opposed to the actual event which is nothing but a non-issue to laugh over.

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    1. Exactly what I was thinking.
      I'm gay. Whoop-dee-doo, it's really not a big deal unless you make it one.

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  91. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  92. @ GEORG: It occurred to me that the writer could have removed the tape, but he knew he had an opportunity to WALK IN THE SHOES of someone gay. He bravely took that step so few dare to.
    It was a very specific slur, directed at people who still have LEGAL discriminatory policies directed at them by their respective gov't and risks of verbal abuse and physical assault.
    "You're stupid" or
    "You're a dick", ISN'T specific and typically isn't a matter of civil rights and physical safety.
    Being LITERALLY labeled gay, IS.
    I'm not gay, but I am an active equality and gay rights supporter.
    I'm a black woman living in Los Angeles, CA that has directly been negatively affected by racial and gender bias my ENTIRE LIFETIME.
    That Sleepy Dad is aware of his white male privilege and took the time to think beyond the walls of that luxury impresses the hell out of me.
    It's a rare intellect and honest morality in a person that can or is willing to do that.

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  93. this is really much ado about nothing. Idiots in the back are given a platform and this blogger is using it shamelessly to promote his blog. Who is the bigger dick here??

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    1. You, for your thoughtless post.

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  94. What if I said that I sometimes describe things as gay but that in my own head there's no correlation between what I am describing and anything to do with anyone's sexuality eg that movie was gay. (I couldn't give a rat's far arse whether the man next to me kisses boys or girls by the way.) I might describe something as shit too but I'm not suggesting it's all smelly and brown and gross. I use shit and gay to mean something a bit rank or pox. So I'm curious to know what all the fuss is about. I agree that people might be using the words dick and stupid and gay interchangeably but I'm not convinced that they are being disparaging towards gay. I'm probably wrong.

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  95. @Anonymous18 October 2013 15:16 using gay to mean shit and not homosexual is mighty white of you

    @Alex I would agree that the the dickhead baggage handlers probably meant sticking "I AM GAY" on the bag was equivalent to saying the owner was a dickhead--but the point you're missing is that's not what the post was about, it's about people looking at him and his bag and thinking not "ZOMG he must be a total dickhead" but thinking "ZOMG homosexual freak alert"

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  96. So... what was their response? Nothing happened so I assume this was all just a set up on your part?

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