Gay Man Searched at London Airport on Suspicion of Pedophilia Because ‘He Had a Camera and a Boyfriend’

The UK's Pink News uncovered a disturbing incident that happened last year at London's Gatwick Airport filed as part of a critique of security practices there in which a gay man was stopped on suspicion of pedophilia simply because he had a boyfriend and a camera. The man's HIV status was also openly discussed:

GatwickThe report outlined the details: “The passenger was stopped and asked routine questions about their trip. When the officer indicated they wished to search the baggage, the passenger requested that this be done in a more private place. This request and a further request on this issue were refused. The contents of the passenger’s bag were then openly displayed including photographic equipment.

“The officer subsequently left the passenger to undertake background checks and later emerged signalling that the passenger could continue on their way.

“The officer then commented to another officer that the passenger was HIV positive; the colleague then advised that the searching officer should use stronger hand gel. These comments were made within earshot of the passenger and indeed other passengers in the channel.

“When subsequently asked why this passenger had been stopped immediately after this interaction, the officer commented that the passenger ‘looked like he might be involved in paedophilia’ and then went on to say that ‘the presence of the camera and the fact he had a boyfriend confirmed this’ (no photos were examined).

“Notebook records of this exchange were not kept although the passenger was delayed by almost 30 minutes.”


  1. Danny in the East Village says

    somehow i don’t find it comforting that they have the same kind of idiotic bigots in airport security the UK that we have in elected office in this country.

  2. Rick says

    “somehow i don’t find it comforting that they have the same kind of idiotic bigots in airport security the UK that we have in elected office in this country”

    Well, the last time I was at Heathrow, more than half of the security personnel were South Asians, presumably mostly Pakistani….and Muslim.

    But of course we all know it is totally non-PC to refer to non-whites or non-Christians as “idiotic bigots”, so be careful Danny or you may lose your membership card.

  3. Dave says

    I hope they get lawyers and sue the people who did this to them. Most likely the people who harassed them were anti-gay Christians who had been trained on how to harass LGBT people.

  4. Rick says

    “Most likely the people who harassed them were anti-gay Christians who had been trained on how to harass LGBT people”.

    Yeah, because there are so many rabid “Christians” in the UK and the rest of Europe these days. LOL.

    Kneejerk left-wingers will do anything to avoid having to face the truth……just like kneejerk right-wingers will.

  5. Don says

    I recently traveled to London with my family. Because of frequent flyer miles, my husband was on a different flight with our son. My daughter and I got to customs first. The customs agent was “making small talk” (presumably part of their procedure) and asked if there was anyone else in our party. I explained that we are meeting my husband and son who are arriving on a later flight. He laughed and said “I think you mean wife”. I simply politely responded, “no, he is my husband”. The agent appeared a bit surprised, but admitted, “well, I guess he is your husband then”.

    I figured he thought I was exhausted from an overnight flight, and just got my nouns confused. But really, how often does someone confuse “husband” and “wife”?

    My daughter (who is 13) noticed the exchange, and related it to a similar occurrence that happened on the flight over, where a flight attendant (that I assumed was gay) seemed flustered and explained that we need 2 customs forms, even if we have the same last name.

    Ah well, educating Britons one person at a time –

  6. BRAINS says

    I am British and travel home quite often…

    The rule of thumb should be: if they request to search your baggage, and you have nothing to hide, make sure it is done “in the open for all to see”…..

    Suspicions are raised when you request a private screening, and you put yourself at a disadvantage by removing potential witnesses when done in private.

    The other question is: how did they know his HIV status?

  7. says

    Rick — Just for the record, nobody mentioned rabies except you, but you forgot to mention Hitler and/or NAZIs which are just as relevant (not at all) as rabies in this incident.

    Now, are there christers in Europe? Yes. Are many christers anti-Gay? Yes. Do anti-Gay christers in positions of authority (including mall cops) sometimes abuse their authority and introduce their own opinions into their official actions? Yes.

    So there.

  8. MarkUs says

    Brit screeners are always agressive in my opinion. And they can be blonde haired blue eyed. It just takes us Southerners a little longer to comprehend that accent, blokes. Deal. And speak slower. It’s like a bunch of Gordon Ramseys sometime in passport controll.

  9. Grover Underwood says

    in regards to the man’s HIV status, he might have had his meds in his carry-on, which would make sense, and the airport people asked him about them

  10. anon says

    The issue would be that there is a pattern of such questioning at the airport, not a single incident. The screener probably needed some rationalization for the search and so came up with that one.

  11. Michaelandfred says

    Sadly, airports are a lesson in ….patience. It seems they are most often staffed with the least educated people on the law but put into a position of ultimate authority. Never assume because you know your rights that the official you’re talking to does. Almost no other person has as much emmediate authority as that single person at immigration. Almost total freedom to do and say whatever, in the moment.

    Side note. Unless you want to miss your connecting flight to anyplace, avoid Heathrow.

  12. Icebloo says

    This is what happens to gay people when you have a right wing government. The British Conservative party have always hated gay people. Nothing has changed. This will happen again.

  13. Dr. M says

    The British are notorious for having left sodomy laws around the world, particularly in Uganda. While coming to their senses, long before Americans about the laws related to homosexual behavior, some still hold that all homosexuals are pedophiles. The facts from medical research are that the vast majority of pedophiles, whether abusing females or males, are heterosexuals who like to dominate, control, and victimize anyone who cannot fight back. In fact, Groth and Birnbaum research on over 100 molesters of boys were all heterosexuals. They could not find a homosexual pedophile. Knowing British courts, most likely the worst thing that can happen to these cowards and abusers at Gatwick will be a slap or someone will talk to them.

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