Jetstar Airways, an Australian low-cost airline headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, is apologizing for the defacement of a passenger’s luggage, which was found with the words “I am gay” scribbled across his suitcase in great big letters.
The unnamed father of two tweeted a photo of his luggage. The man said he was “utterly disgusted” when his red suitcase came out first onto the luggage carousel after the flight. He remembered the carousel being surrounded by a crowd of people looking for their items. At first, he was bewildered, then embarrassed as he grabbed the suitcase “and had many eyes look [him] up and down.”
Writing in a blog post Wednesday, he said:
I ... thought I had thick enough skin to ignore the leering. ... 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. ... 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.
A Jetstar spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald that the discount subsidiary airline of Qantas was carrying out a “thorough investigation” and added, “We are taking this matter very seriously and we have contacted the passenger to apologise for any distress caused.”