Perhaps anti-gay sentiments have been revived in big cities in the United States in recent weeks. After series of anti-gay hate crimes happened in New York City in May, another gay couple in Chicago was kicked out of the taxi by the driver after exchanging a kiss on Kennedy Expressway on May 30.
Steven White and Matt McCrea were on their way home from O’Hare International Airport around 11:30 p.m. when the cab driver insisted on forcing them out of his car after what they described to the Huffington Post as “a quick peck on the lips.”
According to White, the driver claimed that since his taxi is a mode of public transportation, kissing is prohibited.
“Rarely in my life have I ever wondered if I would have been treated differently if I were heterosexual,” said White in an interview with CBS Chicago. “That thought hardly ever crosses my mind, but last night I wondered.”
Although the official report showed that the driver accused White and McCrea of “making sex,” the Taxi Associates that the driver belongs to haven’t commented on the case so far.
The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which oversees the taxi business, said that while drivers have rights to reject customers, they don’t have the right to discriminate. The department told CBS Chicago that they will investigate if there are other complaints against the driver. The couple plan to file a complaint against the driver.
In 2012, a lesbian couple in Phoenix, Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz, encountered a similar situation when they were asked to “get a room” by a restaurant manager after exchanging quick kisses during their anniversary celebration. While the Sheraton Hotel immediately responded with a public announcement of their support for the LGBT community, it didn’t seem to guarantee that the restaurant manager was going to face any punishment for his words.
In recent months, supports for anti-gay discrimination are thriving and corporations and companies are facing greater pressure than before to ensure an equal and discrimination-free working environment. Exxon Mobil was challenged by GetEQUAL, a national LGBT advocacy group, when the company didn’t explicitly ban discrimination against LGBT employees. While the company’s board said that it’s not necessary for them to add extra words regarding LGBT employees in its existing policy that already bans discrimination of any type. Freedom to Work, an LGBT advocacy group, submitted fictional applications to Exxon’s job opening at its office in Patoka, Ill., but they claimed that the application never received any callback from Exxon.
While anti-gay discrimination law is pushing forward at both the state and federal level, it still doesn’t guarantee a safe environment and fair treatment for LGBT individuals. As long as discrimination exists in society, the equality that has been promised by generations of politicians can never be completely fulfilled.