My husband and I are…well, we’re one of those “cute” couples you see out and about. We hold hands walking to work. We make eyes at each other over dinner in restaurants. And we definitely snog on airplanes.
Somehow, however, we’ve missed out on the experience of being kicked off a plane for doing so.
Former “The L Word” star Leisha Hailey complained in a stream of Twitter messages on Monday that she and a girlfriend were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in a dispute over their kissing on a plane.
Hailey, 40, tweeted that a flight attendant had told her that Southwest “was a ‘family’ airline and kissing was not ok,” and that she and her companion were then “escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue.”
As with pretty much every incident of this sort over the last decade, this embarrassment for the airline came about because their representatives were willing to step up and harass minority passengers on behalf of provincial idiots who think it’s their god-given right to never spend one uncomfortable moment in their lives.
That’s right. This couple was kicked off the plane because other passengers griped that they were kissing “too much.” Then they had the great gall to point out to the flight attendant that it wasn’t their problem if their kissing made someone else edgy. It wasn’t their problem that–unlike when my husband and I kiss and are viewed as (sometimes nauseatingly) cute–kisses between two women are considered more sexual and, therefore, less appropriate for family.
Except, of course, that it was their problem, because that is how the system is set up. They had to pay for someone else’s fears by not being allowed to fly while the bigots get a free pass. They had to pay the same way the imams did because they dared to pray in public before their flight. They had to pay the same way a musician did for reading about vintage airplanes while traveling while brown. They had to pay the same way a former reporter and a couple of other dark-skinned folks did for having been accidentally seated together and having gotten up to use the bathroom on this September 11. They had to pay the same price that all too many people with medical conditions have had to pay because their circumstances were strange to some half-trained TSA agent.
Every single one of those people has had to deal with being treated like a terrorist because some yokel or yokels couldn’t tell the difference between a threat and something their vast, boundless experience had simply never put them in contact with before. They all were subjected to harassment and humiliation because we, as a nation, are so concerned with the specter of terrorism that we can’t tell the difference between terror and simple novelty.
How much further does this have to go before we stand up and demand that we stop listening to the fearful children, terrified that a monster under the bed might bring down a plane? How long until we depose the petty tyrants on airplanes and in security queues who can’t or won’t differentiate between, “Don’t be a silly ass,” and, “I’ve got a bomb!” How long until we say, “Kissing?!? Are you kidding me? What were they going to do, suck the glass out of the windows?”
If we don’t stop doing it soon, those of us who might weird somebody out (reading The God Delusion in front of a Christian, anyone?), are going to have to gang together and start getting audibly nervous on planes. I vote for starting with business travelers. Suits to travel in a sardine cans? That’s just wrong. What are they hiding under there?
Who’s with me?