Note: we are republishing this story to raise awareness about reported incidents of discrimination against people who identify as LGBTQ in America.
Craig Lukas, a Florida resident, prefers to maintain a low-key status when it comes to his sexual identity. However, an Orange County car dealership threatened to expose his identity – through license plates.
Lukas and his partner were looking for a new car when they finally decided to get a brand new black Volvo with luxury features. When they finalized the paperwork, they were more than excited to take their new ride home. This plan was quickly abandoned when they saw the car’s license plate.
The plate spelled out “GAY,” and this made the couple uncomfortable and exposed. They felt like their sexuality was being displayed for the entire world to see. They asked for replacement, and Lukas stated that he found it “slightly offensive.” He stated that they “prefer to remain quiet” about their sexual identity.
However, they had to drive home with the plate they got. Lukas stated, “He [the dealer] said, ‘let me see what I can do Craig.’ He said, ‘I’m sorry. I think every plate we have has the word ‘gay’ on it.’”
The couple drove the car home and locked it away in the garage. They maintain that they cannot drive a car with those license plates, and that they have requested for new plates with different letter combinations.
He told WFTV, “There are plenty of combinations out there the state could have used… Definitely an oversight on the part of the state, as far as I’m concerned.”
He believes that the state should get rid of the “GAY” license plate combinations, and that the state department should be “more sensitive” to the feelings of both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ individuals by banning the word.
However, the Tax Collectors Office will not be banning the word, and has no intention of doing so. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does not see anything wrong or offensive about the word, and confirmed that license plates “GAYA01” to “GAYW35” were already in circulation.
There is some good news for Lukas. The department stated that they would be willing to exchange his “GAY” license plate for another one that has a combination of letters that he finds more acceptable.
Lukas confirmed that he was more than willing to take up the offer, but still insisted that the department get rid of the entire combination.
Granted, no one would have ever found out about his sexuality if he hadn’t contacted the media about the “slightly offensive” letter combinations.