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‘I am gay’ suitcase on Perth carousel was a scarlet letter

October 17, 2013 Aviation, Headline News 2 Comments Email Email


A suitcase with the words “I am gay” plastered over it with airline baggage stickers (as in the picture below) is flying around the Twittersphere.

Or at least, the picture is being endlessly retweeted around the world. The bag’s owner, a man from Queensland, believes his suitcase was defaced with the stickers at Perth Airport.

The bag appeared on the Perth carousel with the words mysteriously stuck to it. The  picture of the bag, posted on Twitter and on the man’s blog, has stirred up a storm of indignant and outraged tweets.

Jetstar has reportedly apologised to the Queensland man, saying it is investigating the prank and trying to find the culprit. I am gay suitcase

Twitter user Sleepysaurus Rex!@aaronpp, who writes a blog under the name One Sleepy Dad, tweeted the photo with the caption: “Utterly disgusted to find my luggage front and centre on the @JetstarAirways luggage carousel looking like this”, the West Australian newspaper reported.

The man (who incidentally says on his blog he is a stay-at-home dad and a “white heterosexual male”) told followers he believed the incident happened at Perth Airport when he flew from Perth to Brisbane.

As he puts it in his blog: “This incident isn’t about me, it’s about what we as a society find acceptable.”

In his own words, he says on his blog:

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.

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

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 past. “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.

Twitter users attacked Jetstar, calling the incident “disgusting and unforgivable”.

Jetstar issued a statement: “We are taking this matter very seriously and we have contacted the passenger to apologise for any distress caused”.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Is it possible that the other people couldn’t have given a damn that you might have been gay, but were merely wondering why someone would scrall it down the side of their luggage in huge letters? Would they have looked equally askance had you something else written in huge letters on your bag – “I VOTE GREENS” or “I DRIVE A PEUGEOT”? Are you, in fact, being just as discriminatory by making an assumption of those around you without first clarifying the facts?

  2. AGENT ORANGE says:

    Is AgentGerko having a lend?
    As if you would first ‘clarify the facts’ from a crowd of faces and prolong the embarrassment!
    This gentleman has every right to feel humiliated

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