Innocent families trapped onboard plane with kissing lesbians

When the bits of information aboutLeisha Hailey’s experience on a Southwest Airlines flight first started trickling out yesterday via Twitter (which I was of course on at the time), I had two simultaneous reactions. One, I assumed without knowing any other source information that the airline was at fault. Two, I snickered at the PR ramifications because, I mean really, could you not find someone more adorable to pick on, Southwest? She’s one of theYoplait bridesmaids fer chrissakes, not to mention the only remotely likeable character on theL Word.

So yeah, as noted by a Twitter friend, maybe I rushed to judgement believing the worst of Southwest. I didn’t care then, and I don’t really care now, even though Hailey and girlfriend have since stated they take “full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a ‘family airline'” and the airline has “clarified” the real reason they got booted wasn’t their “excessive” display of affection but their profanity and “aggressive reaction.”

In Hailey’s version, the “excessive” PDA was one kiss, after which the couple was approached by a flight attendant who told them they were traveling on a “family airline.” And that, that right there, is what this is about:the completely unselfconscious, unexamined assumption that GLBT people are supposed to have the decency to be ashamed of ourselves, to know our place, and to accept it without any kind of undue reaction.

You’re a paying customer on a crowded airplane, someone in authority says something to you that translates as “what you and your partner are doing isn’t merely irritating, it’s disgusting, harmful to children and families even.” You then have the choice of swallowing the hatred quietly and politely, conforming, going along to get along, or you get angry. Short of physically harming someone or doing something that might cause the plane to crash, I think anger is perfectly understandable in that situation.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only really sane reaction.

This story isn’t important because Southwest kicked another celebrity off a plane because they can get away with it because it won’t put a dent in their business. The story is important becausewe do know our place, and we will continue to claim it.

Snarker gets the last word:

So for every person out there who persists on thinking we’re just shoving our big gay agenda into their faces, trust me – we’ve thought about the consequences of what we’re doing a lot more than you ever have. And we do what we do because we’ve decided that it’s worth it – despite all the bullshit – to be who we are. Because to self-censor ourselves for other people’s so-called comfort isn’t doing the world any favors. In fact, it hurts the world to let this double standard exist that says one kind of love is more acceptable than another kind of love. We think long and hard and endlessly about many of the simple gestures that straight people just take for granted.

So each time gay people demand to be treated equal, cry foul against discrimination and simply dare to give the person we love a kiss before the plane takes off, we chip away at that double standard. We stake our claim on our own equality. We say, I have the right to do this. If that makes you uncomfortable world, well, that’s your fucking problem. It’s not excessive to kiss someone you love, Southwest Airlines. And it is definitely worth it.

15 thoughts on “Innocent families trapped onboard plane with kissing lesbians

  1. Thanks for the info Virgo. My question from the first has been whether the infraction were the PDA or the fact that it was gay. I’ve seen both heteros and homos having PDAs which I just as soon had rather not see.

  2. So why did the LA Times package this as a “celebrity gossip” story rather than a “human rights” story?

  3. Me too Maple, but you think a lot of straight people get tossed off planes for kissing?

  4. Truth. I’m ashamed nobody else on the plane spoke up and told that flight attendant that they should keep their closed mindedness to themselves, and not bother passengers with such offensive and discriminatory behavior.

  5. Problem thought, Cousin Pat, is under the Terrah! Terrah! Terrah! the flight attendants have been made extremely powerful. Talk back and go to jail.

  6. Here’s to pickin’ fights over civil rights.
    I think there are ways to make displeasure known without getting kicked off a plane. A simple calmly asked question: “how would I lodge complaints about your service and behavior with company management? I want to make sure that a record of your disgusting and bigoted behavior exists officially.”

  7. I think tbat kind of response is possible but I strongly disagree that it should be expected behavior on the part of someone who’s just been on the receiving end of predjudice and hatred. When that has happened to me, especially when it was in public, I experienced a physical sensation much like being struck. I had a hard time breathing much less formulating a polite and civil response. Also, with all due respect,”displeasure” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be held responsible if their anger actually harms someone, but in my opinion, suggesting someone should be able to remain calm, collected and civil right after someone has just shit on them is, at the very least, unrealistic.

  8. What really needed to happen is that someone should have complained to the flight attendant that their flight experience was being negatively impacted by the cessation of lesbian snogging and could the flight attendant please remove the pr0n-hating prude from the airplane so the rest of us could enjoy our flight. If they ignore oyu, the case of discrimination is airtight since they are only removing certain passengers. If the attendant follows through, you get the warm, fuzzy feeling of God’s approval that the shite-for-brains just got booted

  9. Virgo – I don’t think that kind of reaction should be expected from thetargets of such nonsense. I DO believe that should have been the reactions ofseveral bystanders, who I am ashamed did not stand up for their fellow Americans in solidarity.
    I know that whole plane wasn’t populated with bigots, but apparently no one had the grit to go on record at the time and express their dismay towards the staff. Complicity through silence. They might be able to bully 2 people off a plane and get away with it, but what if it were 8 or 9 people standing up for what was right?

  10. I think I would rather hear the whole damn story before jumping to conclusions. If the flight attendant got in their face for a kiss, yes, then Southwest, that flight attendant and the “offended family” are in the wrong. But I honestly don’t have any clue what really happened here. I only see one side of the story, and the person telling that side has a vested interest in painting it in as bad a light as possible.

  11. Mothra, the first link above is to a story that references both Southwest statements-they issued two- as well as Hailey’s.

  12. A real “family airline” would require that all heterosexual couples f*ck during the flight. You can’t get any more pro-family than that.

  13. I’m wondering if the other passengers heard the initial offensive remark. I kind of doubt that the flight attendant announced it over the loudspeaker. Perhaps the lack of solidarity was more the result of the initial bigoted remark’s being inaudible to most of the passengers.

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