An Australian-based airline has apologized and said they are investigating the incident where employees plastered "I Am Gay" down the side of someone's suitcase. That turned out to be embarrassing for the stay-at-home dad who owns that particular piece of luggage.
Here's the "gay" suitcase in question:
Other details of the Internet-famous incident are slim in some spots. We don't officially know the last name of the man (he goes by Aaron on Twitter) who owned the suitcase. But we do know that the gay-ing of the suitcase happened between a flight from Perth to Brisbane on an airline called Jetstar over the weekend.
Aaron blogged about the incident on Monday, explaining to the Internet that carousel-gate made him realize how terrible it is to be a gay person sometimes:
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.
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.
Now is probably as good a time as ever to remind everyone that calling someone "gay" is not an insult. "Gay" is a descriptor, just like calling someone Asian, white, black, brunette, blonde, or Christian. But imagine if Aaron got a bag tagged "I am black/Christian/Asian/female/etc." and then wrote about how offended he felt and how much pain he now knows. Though his intentions are sincere and solid, his response could have been worded better. Whoever tagged that piece of luggage wanted to embarrass someone, but the first response to being called "gay" shouldn't have to be that it's a slur.
Slur or not, the airline has responded accordingly. "We are taking this matter very seriously and we have contacted the passenger to apologize for any distress caused," Jetstar said in a statement.