Albuquerque | Discrimination | New Mexico | News

Gay Couple Ordered to the Back of the Bus for Holding Hands: VIDEO


Ron McCoy and his partner, Chris Bowers, a gay couple who had just flown in from Portland, Oregon for Albuquerque, New Mexico's Pride Festival last month, received a horrible welcome to the city from a driver on an airport shuttle bus, KRQE reports:

McCoy said he and his partner sat in the front of a shuttle bus, holding hands when a driver discriminated against them.

“I saw him look at us, look down at his hands and he looked so angry,” McCoy said. “He just blurted out at me, he goes, “'Okay, if you're going to do that, you're going to the back of the bus.'"

Shocked and not wanting to cause problems, the couple obeyed. Once the shuttle stopped at its destination, however, the couple asked the driver why he forced them to move.

“I said, ‘I think it was because you didn't like the fact that I was holding my partner's hand.' He goes, ‘See, now you're telling on yourself.’ My partner responds, 'Well, that's discrimination,' and the driver responds, ‘You're telling on yourself again,’” McCoy said.

A woman, originally from Albuquerque, witnessed the confrontation and jumped in. “I told the bus driver that I was completely appalled that anybody would be treated this way,” said Bernadette Aguirre.

“And the driver looks back at us and goes, 'I'll show you what's appalling,' and he points to us,” McCoy said.

Watch KRQE's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Gay couple forced to back of bus

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  1. The back of the bus -- is there any location more symbolic of bigotry in American society?

    Posted by: kit | Aug 3, 2013 3:20:41 PM

  2. The world is growing up, with or without this bus driver. Let him not hold us back. Example is the only win.

    Posted by: LoneWolfen | Aug 3, 2013 3:26:51 PM

  3. At the end of the video, something interesting came out: the bus company claimed the driver got carried away, and that all its drivers were being required to take "sensitivity training" as a result, if only because airport officials were livid and the bus company is trying to keep its contract by showing that it is doing something about the problem.

    I'd imagine this driver is not going to be very popular with the other drivers due to his boorish behavior affecting all of them.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 3, 2013 3:34:26 PM

  4. They don't deserve praise or sympathy. They followed his unlawful and discriminatory order.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 3, 2013 3:45:02 PM

  5. I angry with Andrew! Get a spine.

    Posted by: Marc C | Aug 3, 2013 3:48:44 PM

  6. Sensitivity training = doing jackshit

    Posted by: Lucrece | Aug 3, 2013 3:49:05 PM

  7. Two men proved they aren't equal to one Rosa Parks.

    Posted by: Rational | Aug 3, 2013 3:53:57 PM

  8. Andrew, Rational - Wow, judge much? We don't know what the real context was - perhaps they were more than concerned with causing problems -- like their safety. Maybe one of them might have been a victim of an assault before and was choosing flight over fight. Rather than judge, we should have empathy for what happened to them.

    Posted by: AngelaChanning | Aug 3, 2013 4:03:55 PM

  9. Exactly, RATIONAL. Rosa Parks said, simply, "no."

    Posted by: KC | Aug 3, 2013 4:25:00 PM

  10. Of course, everybody is very brave when things are happening to others.

    They don't want to cause a riot, and then complained. Good for them.
    Having a frontal confrontation probably wasn't the wisest idea in this case.
    Of course, a lot of people here don't have any idea of what empathy means

    Posted by: jjose712 | Aug 3, 2013 4:26:59 PM

  11. I am an airline employee at the Albuquerque Airport. I can't believe this. I am thinking about going to an airport board meeting and asking the airport to pass a rule saying that the airport will not discriminate against LGBT passengers/customers. Beyond being immoral this is bad for tourism.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 3, 2013 4:36:44 PM

  12. @Mike: a trip to an airport board meeting might not be needed as the news video showed a representative of the airport stating that this sort of behavior on the part of a subcontractor was completely inappropriate. I can only imagine what they probably told the bus company's management in private.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 3, 2013 4:55:56 PM

  13. Being a black gay man, this disturbs me to my core. I probably would not have handled it as gracefully as these two men. I would have been in an Albuquerque prison for attempting to choke the life out of the driver. However, it would not have solved his hateful behavior. BUT DAMN IT, it would have felt great!!!

    Posted by: Thurts | Aug 3, 2013 4:56:02 PM

  14. @ Andrew - perhaps they were just being pragmatic. They were in a place with which they were not familiar. They waited until they were at their destination, and then they confronted the bus driver.

    I admit that I would have instantly started spouting off, but that's not always the correct thing to do as my husband would have reminded me.

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Aug 3, 2013 5:03:22 PM

  15. um, the fact that they submitted is indeed pathetic.

    stand up for your rights and dignity, jeezuz

    Posted by: gomez | Aug 3, 2013 5:08:49 PM

  16. If Rosa Parks had not wanted to "cause problems" and "obeyed" we wouldn't even know her name.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Aug 3, 2013 5:15:43 PM

  17. The bus driver should have asked for a blow job. He would have got it judging from these two. The bus driver's comments humiliated them into doing what he said. A reminder that they weren't in hand hold world anymore, and getting a realistic dose of anti-gay reality.

    Posted by: Tim | Aug 3, 2013 5:18:34 PM

  18. internalized homophobia often prevents lgbts from standing up for themselves.

    Posted by: candide001 | Aug 3, 2013 5:22:35 PM

  19. "You're telling on yourself"? What kind of b*llsh*t response is that? That sounds like something a girl in 3rd grade would say.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Aug 3, 2013 5:44:15 PM

  20. I can see how and why they'd do as they were told to do.

    You need to be prepared to deal with crap like this, prepared to respond with the correct proportion, to remain in control of your own emotions and perceptions, and of the situation.

    Simply staying put, continuing to hold hands, and look them in the eye and simply say : "NO".

    And prepared for the reactions around you, which are unpredictable and potentially shame-triggers.

    Just telling them "NO" is probably not going to be sufficient. Telling them "NO, we're NOT moving, and we're NOT going to stop holding hands. If you have such a problem with it, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I promise you we'll be filing complaints and seeking legal action if you persist.

    But no, most people are ill equipped to deal with this type of thing. Because it's complex; there is more going on that what is on the surface. It transcends the political - arguably, politicizing it is basically useless. You need to be prepared. You need to demand "WHY?" from the people who are giving you orders, MAKE them SAY why. Document it, and take legal action.

    The next time it may be someone even more ill prepared than you, someone helpless, sick, and/or fragile.

    It takes a kind of bravery to stand up to this type of thing that many people just don't posses. How do you know the rest of the passengers aren't going to turn on you ? How do you know that you're not interacting with a crazy person ? I've seen bus and transit drivers in SF smoking crack on duty, I wouldn't argue with them, they're capable of doing things beyond my comprehension, and there are very few people in the real world that will stand up and do the right thing. Most simply make endless excuses for the most dreadful things.

    You can be a sheep, or you can be a wolf; but you can't be both.

    Posted by: Fred | Aug 3, 2013 6:18:35 PM

  21. Oh, and the driver didn't "force them to move", can we agree on THAT FACT ?

    There's nothing quite like oppressing yourself. It's deluded to pretend that we are not conditioned to do so, and that a good chunk of our "culture" is based on this.

    Posted by: Fred | Aug 3, 2013 6:23:13 PM

  22. Date bodybuilders over six feet.

    Posted by: Jake | Aug 3, 2013 6:27:35 PM

  23. I was in Albuquerque for a NCAA Sweet 16 a few years ago. I was with a nearly all straight group of college basketball fans and we didn't feel welcome anywhere, not even the bar that agreed to host our school. Everybody was discussing what to do on the day between games, the overwhelming response was the best thing to do in Albuquerque is to go to Santa Fe. Never again.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 3, 2013 6:48:52 PM

  24. "See, now you're telling on yourself."

    Jesus Christ, is that bus driver even old enough to drive? We said crap like that when I was like six.

    Posted by: abden | Aug 3, 2013 7:04:58 PM

  25. See now, this is where a basic knowledge of history comes in handy. Even if one is anti-gay knowing why this would be so explosive politically would do them well in avoiding being put into the spotlight. I'm just amazed at the level of stupidity here, not just the anti-gay bigotry itself but the driver's attitude that this wasn't a big deal. Methinks he needs to avail himself of a good history book on a certain time period in US history...

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Aug 3, 2013 7:09:12 PM

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