Comments

  1. Bill says

    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.

  2. AngelaChanning says

    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.

  3. jjose712 says

    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

  4. Mike says

    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.

  5. Bill says

    @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.

  6. Thurts says

    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!!!

  7. Mike in the tundra says

    @ 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.

  8. Tim says

    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.

  9. Fred says

    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.

  10. Fred says

    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.

  11. Craig says

    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.

  12. abden says

    “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.

  13. JohnAGJ says

    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…

  14. JohnAGJ says

    Excellent point, Bill. I can remember having to take such sensitivity classes and the persons responsible for us doing so because of their boorish behavior were not popular at all. Well, that is those who weren’t fired for their behavior, which didn’t generate much sympathy.

  15. JohnAGJ says

    Excellent point, Bill. I can remember having to take such sensitivity classes and the persons responsible for us doing so because of their boorish behavior were not popular at all. Well, that is those who weren’t fired for their behavior, which didn’t generate much sympathy.

  16. sfbob says

    It doesn’t matter what the couple did or didn’t do and why they did or didn’t do it because it’s pretty much irrelevant. The driver was not only wrong, he was breaking the law. New Mexico has fairly robust civil rights laws, which include sexual orientation as a protected class (this is being used in the battle over SSM there). The couple might or might not have known that at the time but that really doesn’t matter.

  17. redball says

    @SFBOB,

    great point. many of these queens are blaming the victim, which is ALWAYS unethical.

    besides, as others have mentioned: someone stupid and imbalanced enough to do what the driver did? i would really want to tell him to “turn around, mind your business, and DO YOUR JOB,” but at the same time i’m not sure i would (because it depends on how the entire situation feels). in the end,

    sometimes it’s truly best to seek legal recourse and fry their @ss once you are no longer right next to them.

  18. Mike says

    Have only known one so called “ADULT” that used to say “See, now you’re telling on yourself.” It was many years ago and she was a grade school teacher right out of SNL’s classic THE CHURCH LADY. If I believed in reincarnation would first think of an overweight slug, but guess a bigoted bus driver is a low enough life form . . .

  19. Armando says

    None of know what we would really do in this situation. We’d like to think we would step up, but there is a reason why we have heard of Rosa Parks and not the names of all of the people who rode the buses before and after.

  20. Sean says

    Look, first of all: I am willing to bet that the couple in the story had never been asked to sit in the back of the bus before because they were holding hands or otherwise showing that they were gay. I’m also willing to bet that none of these commentators looking down on the couple for “obeying” the bus driver initially have ever been asked either.

    Why does this matter? Because Rosa Parks and other African-Americans in the South were being told to move to the back of the bus EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIVES.

    The idea that we should judge and shame these two men for not doing what Rosa Parks did ignores so much of the context surrounding who Rosa Parks was, why she did what she did, and what the civil rights movement was all about.

    Secondly: Rosa Parks DID, in fact, sit at the back of the bus- she walked into the bus and sat in the “Colored Section”, where she had been conditioned her whole life to sit. It was only when a white man could not find a seat in the whites only section that the bus driver told her to move.

    So in other words, Rosa Parks did initially “obey” unjust demands. Why does that matter? Because it shows that all people, if we are not expecting anything different, can succumb to injustice and oppression, and all who stand up for their rights should be commended.

    So yes, these two men are courageous, because even if they sat at the back of the bus at first, they are no different than Rosa Parks who did the same exact thing. There is no reason to disparage this couple for taking a little longer to realize that what they were told to do was wrong. It took Rosa Parks forty years before she realized she didn’t have to move.

    What’s sad is that instead of looking to this story and supporting the people who were the victims of an injustice, we blame them for not doing enough. If this is what the LGBT community is like, then we don’t deserve to win equal rights, because we don’t have any respect for those of us who do the most to win them.

  21. Buckie Weston says

    It’s funny, when you stand up for your rights it doesn’t make as good “news”/PR, and more than often the incident is entirely ignored or soon forgotten…

    Simply telling the bus driver to GFY and staying put would have rendered the entire incident invisible, and nobody here would care at all, because it wouldn’t fit into the childish and inane gay victim model most gay people readily accept.

  22. Betty Treacle says

    They are not cowards because they complained about it afterwards and faced the publicity and intrusion into their lives in order to make a point about homophobia that will benefit all of us.

    That is true courage.

  23. River says

    DISGUSTING any tax paying American would be treated like this in our own country. This needs to stop and will only stop if we put pressure on those companies who’s employees adopt personal anti gay agendas.

  24. Alejandro says

    Mike,
    please attend that airport meeting. That’s what activism is all about. each of us doing our part to ensure discrimination ends. by putting a face behind our community and speaking our truth and concerns in passionate and civilized manners. You’ll make an impact, a positive one, by telling that same airport that you appreciate swift action on their part and as a gay person, don’t wish to see any other people singled out in that manner.

  25. Javier says

    I’ve lived in New mexico all my life and I WISH the extent of how straight people showed PDA in public was just holding hands. Straight people will straight up go to third base in public all over the place and aint nobody sayin a thing! NOTHING. Happens everywhere in this crazy state, and everybody ignores it. Just last weekend I walked past a park bench where in clear daylight chick was giving a handjob to her guy on a damn park bench! and people were just ignoring it or pretending like they weren’t seeing it. but god forbid a gay couple hold hands in their seat on a damn bus. Still saving money to get out of this state and it’s hypocrisy.

  26. Kent in D.C says

    they obeyed the bus driver and went and took a seat in the back of the bus? and then we gays wonder why we’re mistreated? it’s like we expect to be walked all over and when it happens, we accept it. SHAME!

  27. Married & sleepless in seattle says

    A similar situation happened to my partner and I while standing in a line at a food truck. The heterosexual couple in front of us were kissing for a few minutes while a line full of nearly a dozen people all waited for our order. My partner and I were simply holding hands. We could see the man behind the counter in the food truck seemed visibly upset. We sincerely thought it was at the straight couple in front of us who were making out. Yet they got off just fine, placed there order and went to the side waiting for it. When we approached the window of the truck to place our order the employee (owner?) said he would refuse serving us because of our “gross” (his words) actions in his line. We were shocked and asked what actions? and he said, “you already know” and then we made the worst decision in our life. We accepted it, and just walked away without at least giving him our two cents worth. Even the straight couples near us were disturbed by the incident and seemed more passionate to react than we sadly were.

    Two weeks later, a gay mutual friend of ours was clearly having a bad day and when I asked what was harming his day he stated he just left a local food truck, same one as our incident earlier, where the person behind the window started to mock him for being gay, as did the other employees, and then refused to serve him. He made a formal complaint with the city, wrote negative reviews on their yelp page and got very productive and unapologetic in handling the situation.

    I then realized by my partner and I simply walking away and accepting that awful treatment by a homophobe who had gotten away with being a homophobe for ages, we were enabling said homophobia. We allowed it to escalate and sent a loud message that gays can be walked over. Conversely, when our gay friend refused to accept that treatment, and filed complaints with important departments and wrote a yelp review— the food truck owner personally sent him a long message of clear fear apologizing and promising it would never happen again. And it probably won’t. But not because of my boyfriend and I. But because of the courage and convictions of our gay friend.

    Let me add, I in no way am suggesting this couple acted as my partner and I did. This couple acted actually more like our gay friend. Refusing to be invisible and hide when faced with bigotry.

  28. noteasilyoffended says

    Everyone’s really brave when they are not faced with dealing with a situation directly. STOP BLAMING THE VICTIMS. Jesus, is the gay community that ignorant and cruel?

  29. Oh says

    These men are role models because they were brave enough to be themselves and say something. They were human for feeling reduced by someone else’s ignorance and being brought back to that vulnerable scared place that we all know in childhood. You have my respect and support.

  30. Franklin Cares says

    Ugh, half think they’re heroes, have think they’re cowards.
    They simply were taken by surprise, that’s all.
    Who the hell wouldn’t be ?
    At least there were sympathetic people present.
    The kind of oppression the older generations have experienced, and worked so hard to overcome, the younger generation simply could not comprehend. It’s too bad, because you could learn how to be human beings if you just sat down, STFU, and listened.
    Pushing 50, I could tell you about things that have happened to me that my responses to would no doubt make you cheer. I could also tell you about all the times I and my friends were treated like dogs and kicked-down, and just took it.
    Some of you will never understand, because you weren’t there, you don’t KNOW what it’s like, what it took to get this far, it didn’t happen by magic, it didn’t happen by waiting around to be rescued, we suffered broken bones and bruises and the kinds of psychological injuries that would make most of you crawl into a cardboard box and wait to die.
    Try being human beings for a while, it’s really not that difficult.

  31. Bill says

    @Betty Treacle: Something else to keep in mind …

    There are a series of laws about not obeying flight attendants, etc., and unless you are a lawyer dealing with this stuff on a daily basis, if you ignore a request from a driver, you risk finding that you’ve violated a law and could end up in jail.

    For example. Oregon has a law (Section 166.116) that makes “interfering with public transportation” illegal. It’s supposed to prevent bad behavior, but such laws can be used as a pretext to arrest someone, and the natural inclination of the police would probably be to take the driver’s word over the passengers’ word regarding an incident.

    If you are not up on the details of what the law is in each state, you are putting yourself at risk by refusing a request from the driver. These two guys did the sensible thing – they made sure nothing would happen that would end their trip but also made sure to file a complaint and not accept a whitewash.

  32. Merv says

    @Married & Sleepless in Seattle – Don’t kick yourself. You were taken by surprise, and in such cases it’s difficult to always make the best decision. It’s admirable to admit that you could have done better. By writing about your experiences, you’ve helped some of us be more prepared in case we run into something similar.

  33. emjayay says

    I believe that Rosa Parks, besides knowing all about the bus rules – they even had a sign – planned to do what she did. It wasn’t off the top of her head in the situation. She was a secretary at the local NAACP and had training in civil disobedience.

  34. millerbeach says

    Why did they move? I would have prayed the idiot bigot driving the bus would have initiated physical contact, then the idiot would be taking his meals through a straw for the next six weeks…or at least until he could be fitted with full dentures. He would be picking his teeth out of his ass. I would have invoked the “stand your ground” law that seems to work oh so well for some. So, who exactly is his employer? I would like to know, so I can tell everyone I know not to patronize such an idiotic driver.

  35. says

    Just so people are aware, since somehow people seem to have missed this. Comments expressed on the internet are not real feelings or thoughts. They are not equivalent to a stated position, a declaration or even an email. They are gut reactions, flippant responses, retaliations, jokes and insults. Get over yourself if you think anyone’s opinion in here (goo, pro, bad or con) is in anyway thought out or important. You can get inspiration and make a declaration/position later, but not here. Hasn’t ever happened, will never happen.

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