Lauren Holter from Bustle.com reports that passenger David Cooley and his partner were flying home from New York to Los Angeles via Alaska airlines. They were already seated when a flight attended approached them to ask them to please move seats so that a heterosexual couple could be seated together.
When they informed the attendant that they were also a couple, they were apparently told either to move to a different seat or to disembark from the plane.
Imagine telling a customer that his paid for seat should be shifted around to accommodate a couple whose inherent privilege often already sees them get the kind of treatment that results in them never having to fight for their right to even exist?
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This kind of behaviour not only normalises discrimination against the LGBTQIA community, but in a climate where countries like the US are doing their utmost to roll back on some of the laws protecting them, it gives people tacit permission to engage in this kind of behaviour.
Alaska airlines have since issued an apology, calling the incident unfortunate and claiming that it was due to a seating mix up and that it’s generally their policy to seat families together, Teen Vogue reports.
The airlines have also since offered to refund David’s ticket. But is that enough to undo the harm that was caused?
David and his partner must have felt so uncomfortable that in the end they felt compelled to disembark the plane.
No one likes to be in spaces where they aren’t being made to feel welcome – be it in the workplace, or in public spaces like restaurants, human rights is not a selective process that means one group gets preference over another.
It means everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation has a right to being treated fairly and without discrimination.
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