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Kenji Yoshino is profoundly correct: "It is not gay behavior but antigay attitudes that need to be modified" ["Gays on a Plane," November 7]. Why is it that Human Rights Campaign and American Airlines gay employees can't embrace this elegant truth? Why do these gay groups appear to be primarily concerned about purported straight sensibilities and corporate prerogatives?

Years ago I used to cringe when a float-load of drag queens went by in the pride parade. Today, I recognize that as my own homophobia at work. Remember that, the next time a gay friend or a straight relative tells you drag queens or scantily clad boys are giving us bad press. Our own and their own antigay attitudes are the problem.

Today, when my partner kisses me goodbye curbside at the airport, I wonder what "they" might be thinking. But I welcome his affectionate gesture, and wouldn't have it any other way.


In the late 1990s I had the distinct privilege of working alongside American Airlines' lesbian and gay marketing group, known as the Rainbow TeAAm, in support of the company's efforts to welcome LGBT travelers. Even then, in the heart of Bush country, American stood out as a pioneer, supporting community organizations and leading the way in progressive policies for its employees. Today, it remains a stellar example of corporate equality and acceptance. Few others have put the time, money, and effort into making sure gay consumers feel so at home.

That's why, with all the important issues facing our community now, it is beyond disappointing that The Advocate chose to spend six pages on a scuffle between a flight attendant and two passengers. It is time to start slaying our real enemies and start treating our friends, like those who put out the welcome mat at American Airlines, with a little more respect.

STEVE RALLS Washington, D.C.

I operate under the principle of "we're here, we're queer--get used to it!" That includes not just us but our expressions of affection. It's about time people who have a problem with our love get a damn grip and realize that the real problem is their homophobia.

I hope the American Airlines employees who hassled Stephan Varnier and George Tsikhiseli are being held accountable for their inappropriate and discriminatory actions. The captain should also be made to answer for acting recklessly by threatening to divert the plane because of some openly gay snuggling.

Nongays can and do publicly flaunt their affection for one another when and wherever they please without being pestered, humiliated, or harmed. I encourage as many of us as possible to do the very same thing--hold hands, kiss, caress, and flaunt!


Kenji Yoshino's "Gays on a Plane" raises one of the most important issues facing us in the LGBT community: the social pressure to adhere to a double standard that requires gay people to constantly re-closet themselves for the sake of catering to the prejudices of others. It is an issue that society has yet to examine in all its complexity, and we hope that Yoshino's insights open that door wider.

For more than a decade, American Airlines has supported the work of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and other LGBT civil rights organizations. We applaud American Airlines' reexamination of its policies and its renewed commitment to the equal treatment of its LGBT customers. And we hope that everyone involved in and reading this story will seize this opportunity to talk about an important truth: that LGBT people have the right to live their lives openly and honestly, and to do so in an environment where they are both allowed and encouraged to do so. We must all take responsibility for creating the culture that honors and requires that standard of integrity.


Do I cover? Yes, I have to because my partner insists on it. However, my choice would be not to cover.

I was particularly interested in the "American Airlines Responds" sidebar, because in 2005 a very similar incident happened to us on the continuation of a flight that started in Rome. On the New York to LAX segment, we encountered almost identical treatment by being ejected in New York by a rogue flight attendant and the captain. Our encounter was also very humiliating. We also were denied everything. Since customer relations has whitewashed all its actions, we have chosen to never fly American again.

MARTIN D. BURLEY Whittier, Calif.

What an ironic cover. Two models mimicking Flight 45, with an interview of the actual couple inside. Why not put the actual couple on the cover? An issue about hiding that hides real people and puts models in their place strikes me as disingenuous.

CHUCK CLEARY West Hartford, Conn.

Your article asking why GLBT people have difficulty being as public about displaying affection as straight people brings to mind not only how this problem causes friction between our community and the straight community but within our community as well. Who among us has not felt the sting of public rejection from a partner who is somewhat less out of the closet and more focused on his or her own fear than on the feelings

of the person they are dating? Being a very out gay man--and having paid a heavy price to achieve this state of being--I resent that so many of those in the dating pool are still straddling the fence and want to drag me back into the closet with them.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:FROM THE READERS
Author:Everingham, Spencer
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Dec 5, 2006
Previous Article:Out on the street: we asked a sampling of LGBT people in San Francisco: "will you spend the holidays with relatives or with your gay 'family'?".
Next Article:Age-appropriate.

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