June 3, 2011

Airport Attire


Sorry I haven’t posted in a while (read: the most uninteresting man in the world). I figured I’d post something relevant and something that I thoroughly enjoy doing. Traveling. I have spent a decent amount of time in an airport during my long trek to and from Utah for my brief vacation from Duke. One thing has changed about the way I travel since coming to Duke. I always wear my Love = Love shirt when flying.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s actually doing anything in terms of swaying public opinion about LGBT identified people. Most of the people I see spend as much time looking at me as I do them (about a half a second to make sure we don’t run into each other as I sprint from one terminal to another). But when I actually get to my terminal and realize that I have nothing to do but sit and wait for 30 minutes, or when someone is awkwardly standing over my seat waiting for everyone loading the plane to move back, the second, third, and usually fourth glance are pretty obvious. In fact, as I am writing this in the Detroit airport, every time I look up to check the gate status, I meet eyes with the portly man across from me and he quickly averts his gaze.

If people are judging me for wearing this shirt, it’s almost a good thing. Just my presence is making them think about LGBT issues. Whether or not this portly man was supportive, at least I was making him think. I’d imagine that most people who are unsupportive of LGBT rights think that all gays are flag waving, parade marching, gaga loving queens. Frankly these aforementioned queens are the most fun people in the world and I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t know one, but I digress. By wearing the shirt, I hope I am somehow showing that there are gays (the majority, in fact) who don’t fit the stereotype. I wasn’t causing a stir, I was just sitting there, in blue jeans and running shoes, listening to an iPod, just patiently waiting (the fact that I was listening to the Wicked soundtrack is irrelevant).

Here’s a funny little aside. While in the Detroit airport, I went to McDonalds. I walk up to the lady at the cash register and order, and she says, “I like your shirt.” I am so incredibly touched, and graciously thank her for being supportive. And then she goes and crushes all my hopes and dreams and says, “It means like man and woman only equals love, right?” #facepalm. No. No it does not. So I tell her she should look at it again. Upon second inspection she says, “Oh, never mind. Next.”

So yeah. There’s that. I hope ya’ll are enjoying your summer.

7 comments:

  1. I love you Dan. PAW :)

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  2. :) this is great. that shirt is great. wicked is great.

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  3. I am sort of old now, so I remember THIS post. =)

    http://www.bluedevilsunited.com/2009/12/strange-encounter.html

    Check it out if you haven't already!

    And the same thing has happened to me with the Love=Love shirt, or any other LGBTQ equality t-shirt: the compliments make my day (esp. outside of Duke, where it's most peoples first time seeing the shirt), and the insulting comments always remind me that I'm really lucky to live in a place (Duke!) where we can wave rainbow flags from our balconies and enjoy other privileges that would have been unthinkable just years ago.

    Thanks for writing, Dan!

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  4. ...and THAT'S why she's working at McDonalds...in an airport.

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  5. ^ um, classist much?

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  6. I wore last year's Love=Love shirt (which also addresses racism and ableism) to Disney recently. A man came up to me, patted me on the shoulder and said, "Great shirt," before returning to his wife and children. Later in the day, a young woman asked to take a picture of the shirt so she could show her friends back home.

    I like wearing the shirt in busy, public places too. I agree that it makes people think, and sometimes it makes them think good things.

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  7. classist or not, someone working at an airport mcdonalds has probably had less time in their life to ponder about issues such as same-sex love

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