Southwest Airlines, which argues to be gay-friendly, has just proven to us the opposite or, at least, it should teach to its employees what the term gay-friendly means, because they have reprimanded a kiss exchanged between Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey in one of their plane and then, they were kicked off it.
Hailey reported on her Twitter account :
Following this, the airline issued an apology:
"Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations."
It is quite obvious that it is an act of discrimination. Some will be say that it is minor but the fact is that this is discrimination. The employees of this company will never have the same reaction if they were heterosexual people.
The story is unfortunately not very clear because of many different versions developed throughout the day on Internet. Are we talking about a lesbian couple who kissed ? Are we talking about two lesbian friends who had fun and kissed (smacker) ? Nobody watched the videos recorded by Hailey and Grey so nobody knows.
Anyway, in answer, Hailey and Grey would be filing a formal complaint against the airline, they also sent a statement via their publicist that the kiss was a simple "peck on the cheek":
"We have always promoted tolerance, openness and equality both as a band and as individuals. We both come from loving homes where our parents not only love and accept us, but are also proud of who we are. We believe everyone has the right to live openly in this society as equals. In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar. We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves, it was one, modest kiss. We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple. We were on the airplane less than 5 minutes when all was said and done. We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a “family airline.” We were never told the reason the flight attendant approached us, we were only scolded that we “needed to be aware that Southwest Airlines was a family oriented airline.” No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud. You can’t whisper hate. We ask this airline to teach their employees to not discriminate against any couple, ever, regardless of their own beliefs. We want to live in a society where if your loved one leans over to give you an innocent kiss on an airplane it’s not labeled as “excessive or not family oriented” by a corporation and its employees. We find it very disturbing that the same airline who lauds itself as being LGBT friendly has twisted an upsetting incident that happened into our behavior being “too excessive.” The above is not an apology and we are in the process of filing a formal complaint with the airline. We hope that when all is said and done a greater tolerance without prejudice will evolve."