On Monday, actress and musician Leisha Hailey, who starred in the TV show “The L-Word,” tweeted: “I have been discriminated against by @SouthwestAir. Flt. attendant said that it was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not ok.” She fired off several more tweets demanding an apology, claiming she and her girlfriend were escorted off the flight, and calling for a boycott.

Follow the link below to get more of the story, however, the part of this I want to focus on today, is the part of Southwest’s statement that I have bolder here:

Roughly four hours after Hailey’s first tweet, Southwest tweeted a link to this statement about the incident:

“Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations.”

And I want to ask, what comfort means, at least to Southwest? And here is why I want to ask this. Is al that it takes to get you escorted off a plane is to look or act in a way that others are uncomfortable around you?  Does someone merely have to say- that person makes me uncomfortable, and they get escorted off the plane? If I see someone reading a Bible and that makes me uncomfortable, will the Bible reader be escorted off? This notion of personal comfort is an interesting one, and it creates a vague boundary around behavior that can easily be a mask to allow and support homophobia. Who was uncomfortable? How many passengers? Were the displays of affection really more than what a straight couple may have exhibited?

On the other hand, if, what we really want is fair and equal treatment, we are going to have to be held to the same standards as everyone else. If something happens that we don’t like, we can not start shouting “homophobia and discrimination” simply because we are LGBT. And here is where the friction comes. Lesbians. gays, bisexuals, and trans persons are rarely held to equal standards. I have a close friend who was holding his boyfriends hand on a bus, and an older woman told him, “don’t shove your sex in my face.” They were simply holding hands!

As troubling as the “comfort” statement is, another statement is equally or more troublesome:

@SouthwestAir. Flt. attendant said that it was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not ok.”

“Family” is often code for right wing conservative or anti-gay. Since the airline supports many LGBT causes and organizations, I’m not sure if that is what this meant, or does it refer to the flight attendant’s personal viewpoints? Same thing with the comment about “kissing.” Is there an employee training manual that describes what is and isn’t appropriate behavior and what to do in case of it? Or does this too, represent the personal feelings of a flight attendant?

Was this what was actually said? Businesses will have to train their employees to react and communicate in ways that do not use code words, and in ways that adequately help a person understand what the problem is, or more and more, this type of issue is going to come up.

Have you ever had an experience in a public space or transportation service like an airline where you felt you were treated differently because of being LGBT? Leave a comment!

via Facing a boycott, Southwest issues statement about kissing incident | Articles .

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