Having an airline lose your luggage sucks.
Having airline employees deface your luggage with a gay slur REALLY sucks.
But this was the unfortunate circumstance in which a passenger on Jetstar (a discount subsidiary of Qantas in Australia and New Zealand) found himself over the weekend.
The unnamed customer Tweeted a photo of his bag after it came through the luggage carousel, writing that he was "utterly disgusted" to find it vandalized with the words "I AM GAY" scrawled over the entire front center.
A father of two, the man blogged that he thought he had "thick enough skin to ignore the leering" that resulted from this incident and added:
I am a white heterosexual male. This trifecta of privilege means that I'm not routinely subjected to prejudice. But for a few minutes I got to walk in the shoes of a gay person in a public place. ... I was degraded. I was shamed. I was humiliated.
For me, this was only a few minutes of one day of my life. If what I felt for those few minutes is extrapolated out every day over a lifetime, then I can fully understand why our gay friends feel persecuted and why they have such high rates of suicide. It is unacceptable.
It's unclear why employees believed the man to be gay, but that isn't what's important of course.
This man isn't even calling for anyone to be fired, just for Jetstar to learn from the incident.
"I'd rather have broad consciousness raising over job losses," he writes.
Through The Sydney Morning Herald, meanwhile, the company said it is conducting a "thorough investigation" and apologized for the embarrassing situation, writing:
"We are taking this matter very seriously and we have contacted the passenger to apologise for any distress caused."