John M. Becker

Straight Man Gains Perspective After Anti-Gay Vandalism

Filed By John M. Becker | October 14, 2013 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: aha moment, airport, empathy, New Zealand, straight allies, straight ally, vandalism

"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.

"It is said that words can't hurt you. That it is true. But it isn't the words that hurt, it's the intention behind them. 'I am gay' was not emblazoned across my luggage as a celebration. It was used as a pejorative. It was used to humiliate. It was used as a slur."

-- Aaron, a stay-at-home dad in New Zealand who gained insight into the everyday struggles of LGBT people after employees of Jetstar Airlines wrote "I am gay" across his suitcase with baggage tape. His response is brilliant and worth reading in full.


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