Have you ever been discriminated against for being Gay while traveling?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by FirstClassQueen, Apr 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. FirstClassQueen
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    FirstClassQueen Silver Member

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    e.g., When me and my same sex partner walk into some hotels the person at the desk will say "You know the room has only one bed". What is your story.
     
  2. Halothane
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    Halothane Silver Member

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    Nope, sure haven't.
     
  3. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Once in Japan I had a check in agent have a mild panic attack because my brother and I wanted a room and they only had a room with a queen sized bed available. She couldn't quite bring herself to mention we'd be sleeping in the same bed. A complete non-issue as after we figured out what the problem was we just agreed to leave our bags and check in later that night.

    I find this an interesting topic as I often wonder how different hotels/cultures will receive travel companions in same sex relationships. Looking forward to other MPers' feedback!
     
  4. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    I am afraid I don't understand this. You mean you booked a room with two beds and checked in with another person of the same sex, and the desk agent switched the reservation to a room with one bed, ostensibly due to his/her perception of you and your companion's sexual orientation? Or do you mean you booked a room with two beds and checked in alone, at which point you were switched to a room with a single bed? The latter happens to me ALL the time, and I appreciate it. I book the cheapest room (often with double beds) and check in alone and am upgraded to a far superior room with a single bed.

    If you checked in alone, I would say this is certainly not discrimination. However, if you checked in with a companion of the same sex, and the desk agent (ostensibly due to his/her perception of you and your companion's sexual orientation) changed your reservation from a room with two beds to one, did you inquire as to whether or not it might have been a mistake or whether or not it was the only room left?

    I like to give people the benefit of the doubt so I would tend to think it was due to extenuating circumstances (when hotels are full, I haved ended up in double room when I booked a single), and not your sexuality. However, if you are certain it was the latter (i.e. you checked the online booking system and saw rooms with two beds were still available) I would CERTAINLY complain to management immediately and request some some of recourse because that would be unacceptable.
     
  5. FirstClassQueen
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    Derek is this better
     
  6. Derek
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    OMG. Yes that makes complete sense to me and is clearly beyond unacceptable on so many levels. I am sorry that has happened to you. If it were me I would immediately demand to speak with a GM about possible recourses.

    Edit; I did not mean that was better, I meant that yes, I better understand what you meant. It is of course anything but better; that sort of treatment is upsetting and unacceptable.
     
  7. FirstClassQueen
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    FirstClassQueen Silver Member

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    We get it all the time in many different ways. And I do speak up believe me. I just want to see what other people deal with.
     
  8. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that. I am curious though, and would like to echo DestinationDavid's question; does this unacceptable treatment manifest itself on the same level worldwide, or are there certain regions that are better/worse in terms of treatment of same-sex traveling couples?

    Also, and perhaps of great interest to the MP community, would you say certain hotel chains are better/worse generally in terms of their treatment of gay travelers? I'm sure if a pattern of discrimination on the part of a particular chain were to come to light, then many on this board would want to know about it/look for other hotel options.
     
  9. torbster
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    "You know the room has only one bed?"

    Discrimination? Seriously? A lot of friends travel together, and if they have rooms with 2 beds available at the hotel I can't see how it's wrong to ask this.. But I might be missing something here.
     
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  10. FirstClassQueen
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    (torbster) if they have rooms with 2 beds available at the hotel I can't see how it's wrong to ask this.

    In all the hotels that I have stayed in all over the world I have never heard the desk person ask a man and a women the same question that booked a single bed, have You?
     
  11. torbster
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    torbster Silver Member

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    No but while traveling with male friends I have been asked this. And "would we rather have a room with two beds", to which I've replied "yes please - thank you for asking". a valid answer would also have been "no, one bed is fine". Sometimes they mess up the booking and put us in a king size even though the booking was for two beds. I don't mean to argue with you, I just think calling it discrimination is kind of overreacting if there was nothing more to it than that..
     
  12. FirstClassQueen
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    I am not argue with you but its the tone in which it is said and looks that are given to us. Once the persons knows that we are a couple and booked a single bed that is my point,
     
  13. SirRagnar
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    I many parts of the worlds people will likely be surprised because it may be the first time they ever see a same sex couple. It's hard to blame them for the surprising look, but I don't think you necessarily should take it in a discriminating way, it may be just that, surprise.
     
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  14. FirstClassQueen
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    I am from the south and it still happens. I know what discrimination is. It is the tone and the look on the persons face. As a ex-army man I have seen it all I did not want to start a big deal. I just wanted most people to open their eyes to this and stand up for your fellow man or men. I would do the same and it happens here in the U.S.A also.
     
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  15. bluesky
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    bluesky Gold Member

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    Looks like it happens in Australia too: http://www.rainbowreporter.com/unlike-alice/

    I have travelled with many non-straight people, and have yet to see or hear of any unpleasantness.

    In fact, in some parts of the world (rural China for one) it would have been easier for me to get a room for me and a male 'friend' than my girlfriend - as we couldn't produce a marriage certificate!
     
  16. RonF
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    So if I deal with 99% of the population one way don't you think I will assume that everyone I deal with is the 99%? Cut the people a break as we are human and fall into a routine. According to the 2000 Census your lifestyle only made up a little over 1% of the population:

    The 2000 census tells us that ... there are 105.5 million households in the USA; 5.5 million of these consist of unmarried partnerships; of these, 595,000 consist of same sex partners. This can be interpreted as there being nearly 1.2 million gay people living with a same sex partner in America.


     
  17. Aktchi
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    He probably had no idea if you are a couple or two friends or family members. In hotels they are always having to clarify the issue of one bed / two beds. I can certainly believe that the clerk may not have been the smoothest friendliest person you met in your life, but I don't see discrimination issue here.
     
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  18. DestinationDavid
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    If this question was posed about any other group of individuals, I doubt you'd be here telling us that customers in a business establishment should just expect service staff to treat them as if they were all the same type of customer. Hotels probably see a similarly small number of customers who are deaf, blind, or physically impaired, but you'd be hard pressed to make an argument that they should be given rooms or spoken to as if they did not have a disability.

    That's the key, good service recognizes that each customer is unique and welcomes them appropriately.

    Similarly, if a check in agent at a hotel is faced with two individuals of the same sex checking into a room with a single bed they should recognize the implications of their actions and act accordingly - with class and good customer service.

    There is a marked difference between scrunching up your face with a funny look and saying, "Um you KNOW this room you booked has one bed, right?" and "Well it looks like the room we have you assigned to has a single bed. If you'd like that changed let me know, otherwise here is your room key" with a smile.

    They both accomplish the same thing, but one leaves the customer feeling welcomed, the other feeling discriminated against.
     
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  19. DestinationDavid
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    I'm glad we have you here to let everyone know when discrimination happens, and when it's all in someone's head! ;) Was it all in my boyfriend's head when he was kicked out of a Texas hotel when he tried to check in with his ex boyfriend a few years back? While this is a more severe situation, it's an illustration that there are issues pertaining to LBGT travel and they can be in your face like my bf's situation, or more subtle like the OPs.

    In all seriousness, it goes without saying that there are situations where individuals are discriminated against because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. It's not really up to us to determine whether someone's intent was to discriminate by asking the question posed by the OP. Sometimes it's an innocent question as you've mentioned, but there *ARE* times when it's a loaded question designed to shame or make the guest feel unwelcome. That is what the OPs question is about. I think its actually rather funny that we all know these situations happen at times but our gut reaction is to tell the OP that there are million reasons it could happen, and it's not discrimination. Let's focus on the fact that it actually does happen at times, and the OP has a valid question about how often people feel it occurs and how those individuals felt.
     
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  20. RedTape
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    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. :confused: The issue at hand aside, your math skills are fine, but your interpretation of data needs some work. You focus only on a small portion of the 105.5 million households, and ignore the rest. Trying to extrapolate your analysis of less than 5% of the households to the rest of the population to conclude that only 1% of the population will have this problem, would be shot down by any statistician. Further, it also ignores all couples who travel together that don't actually reside in the same household. It happens you know.
     
  21. JohnDeere19
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  22. G_G
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    In a hotel in Tunisia : if you are from different sex you have to prove you're married :D
     
  23. ItsADryCold
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    I agree. Rather than point out the probable reason, let us all speculate as to what could have been a potential slight. TSA mind-reading scanners at every hotel check-in counter, I say!
     
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  24. Aktchi
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    We are in no position to "determine" anything here, but someone posting to a public forum probably understands that others can only react based on their own life experiences, not OP's or yours. If one is not interested in that, why seek their input?

    My own 1st hand life experience in the discrimination area comes from having spent much of my life as a non-white foreign student in the USA. Plenty of opportunities to feel discriminated. And 2nd hand ones from having lived in an institution that had students from 80 countries - Africans, Jews, men, women, Native Americans, Palestinians, Muslims, Japanese Americans, GLBT - you name it, we had that group. Again, plenty of overt or hidden resentment against real or imaginary discrimination.

    Based on that, I came to realize that -

    1. There is a lot of real discrimination.
    2. There is a lot of imagined discrimination.
    3. Discrimination / stereotyping are here to stay, because...
    4. People love discrimination/stereotyping when it is positive for them (whether justified or not).
    5. People get upset only when discrimination/stereotyping is negative (whether justified or not).

    What do I mean by positive discrimination? OP might not have minded if there was a 20% discount for GLBT community that day. Or a banner advertising special welcome for them. I certainly wouldn't mind if a hotel or an airline decided to upgrade slightly-overweight balding men of my nationality; I am all for that. :)

    You and I can get up anywhere and say "Americans are hardworking", "Jews value education", "Hispanics are family oriented", "Indians respect elders", "Italians are fun-loving", etc., and there is very little chance that the target group will protest, "Don't stereotype us!" It would be a rare African-American, Jew, Indian, woman, Muslim, or GLBT person who would refuse a special "opportunity" reserved just for his/her group. We begin to see inappropriateness only when discrimination / stereotype is negative, against us.

    I recently had a conversation with an African friend who grew up in colonial Africa and was certainly no stranger to discrimination. As a student in the USA, he arrived ready and well-prepared to see discrimination everywhere, and largely succeeded! Especially whenever a white woman declined to dance with him at parties. Problem was, many of the same women were soon seen dancing or going out with other African students within days if not hours. :) So, a great learning experience arranged by God for my friend. He said, it took him ten years to realize that some of those women may have been simply tired or enjoying another conversation, and thirty years to accept the possibility that a few just might not have found his conversations, mostly about what was wrong with the world in general and West in particular, all that attractive.

    Or consider the following equally skewed narrative: Sometimes it is a loaded question designed to shame or make the guest feel unwelcome, but there *ARE* times when it is just an innocent question...Let's focus on the fact that those times do actually occur...

    Of course, you could think, and ask, why in the world should we focus on this one possibility and ignore all others?
     
  25. Derek
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    Fascinating, enlightening thread. I did not realize how pervasive discrimination was at hotels, and now I wonder if I too, as a single man, am also the victim of widespread institutionalized discrimination. At almost every single hotel I have ever checked into by myself, the desk agent has asked me if I wanted one or two keys, despite being the only person on the reservation, and alone. Obviously, two keys would do me no good, as I would only carry one, and the other would be in my room. (Surely they didn't think I would carry two keys on my person). Now I am beginning to wonder if this is not some overt form of anti-single discrimination. Do you think they offer the second key as a way of belittling me, to remind me of my singleness? Or, do you think the desk agents believe that all single people are promiscuous sex-crazed heathens who will not hand not only have a one night stand, but will also want to give a key to whatever random person they take home?

    I had never thought of it before, but this thread has helped to expand my perception of what might constitute discrimination. What do you think?
     
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