Homophobia in the Concorde Room

Concorde Room T5 Dec 15

I report a rather disquieting experience from the Concorde Room about ten days ago. Let me set out from the start that this is in no way BA’s fault or responsibility. In fact, if you make it to the end, you will find that they acted wonderfully.

The room was fairly busy; it was the Saturday before half-term for British schools. Two kids drew my attention once I sat down, probably around 2 and 5. They were happily playing chase, running around and screaming as young children do. Their parents periodically caught up with them and returned them to where they were all sitting.

After about 30 minutes, the kids started off again, with the youngest running up to me, where I was happily sitting doing some work, and started punching me. Ok it’s a two-year old, but it was annoying. I stood up, and after a couple of minutes dad appeared. I asked if he could collect his kid who had now taken over my seat.

His reply was ‘I assume you never had any kids’.

‘No’ I replied.

‘Faggot’ he said.

‘Wow, where did that come from?’ was my initial reaction

I was too caught off guard to respond with an appropriate comment, although I am not sure how you answer that except with ‘And…?’.

Ten minutes later I was both upset and angry. More so than I would have thought I would let myself – I presume it was the post adrenalin come down. The family was still in the lounge, sitting with half a dozen other adults. The kids were watching movies on iPads like little angels.

I spoke to the agent at the desk who called the Manager. I explained what had happened and she was genuinely solicitous that I was OK, and spent time sitting with me to make sure I was settled. We did look around the lounge to see if the family was still there, but it was hard to be sure which was the father. They left moments later. What a weak person I am!

I had thirty minutes until my flight, which turned out to have one of the very nicest BA crews I have ever encountered. They made the day so much better.

I think the situation upset me so much as I see the Concorde Room as a haven of peace and this was broken by the homophobe that I encountered.

End of rant…..


  1. That’s not a nice experience, it’s sad that there are still people such as this in the world, let’s hope his kids grow up to be decent people some day.

  2. Sorry you had to experience that. If there were children making a lot of noise in a lounge I wouldn’t be happy and I feel like staff should have done something about that (obviously a smaller aspect of your experience).

    It’s such a strange jump to assume someone without children would be gay, and also that they would feel the need to make a comment like that about it that could only be a cause of upset. I guess it’s hardly a surprise that their children aren’t particularly well behaved if the parent acts like that in public.

  3. I’m asking this genuinely, not in a derogatory way – are you gay? The reason I’m asking is because if you are not then I don’t understand why you were so offended (emphasis on so). If a person called me a mother f***ker or ***hole or something other profanity for little or no reason, I would of course be upset, but just because the other person was rude.

    If they called me Mexican or a Jew (which I am not) to imply that I am lazy or greedy or something else, I would be even less offended because even though the comment is racist and inappropriate, it’s not about me.

    If you are not gay (again saying this respectfully) then would you have been equally angry if the person had used another curse word instead? Just trying to figure out your values.

  4. I’ve encountered resentment at my childless status in the past. I recall being at a party when the subject of leisure travel came up. I usually take a couple of international vacations each year, and when someone asked how I could afford it, I explained that I’m single with no children. A sneer came to their face as they said something to the effect of, “Well, I think we should try to think of the future and have children instead of being selfish”.

    That really wasn’t a very good party.

    As annoying as my experience was, I can only imagine what it would be like to have a total stranger throw out such a homophobic insult at me as they did to you. My sympathies, and it’s good to hear that the BA agents were so kind.

  5. Wow, what a terrible experience. Unfortunately regardless of what circles you move in or the perceived standing of the people you deal with, there are awful people at all levels.

    Btw, I wouldn’t say you were weak – I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. Had it happened to me in the CCR I think I would have been equally shocked to provide any immediate reply.

  6. I am very sorry for you to have experienced that and particularly in a place you go to retreat. Of course that parent was deeply in the wrong Take good care of yourself.

  7. The guy and his brat sound like world class jerks. But being mean or not liking people, doesn’t necessarily make someone “phobic” which is something else entirely, so I wish people would stop the use of “homophobic” to describe someone who is just mean.

    But also realize that the use of that word doesn’t always imply someone is a homosexual. Depending on the person’s age and where they’re from, the word is equivalent to “jerk” or “a–hole” and doesn’t connote gay.

    Still if the man was saying that as a gay slur, it is odd to assume that the reason someone has no children is because they’re homosexual…and not that your lack of children has any bearing on the fact he isn’t keeping track of his child!

  8. And the equivalent of calling the Police would accomplish what? I’m genuinely curious. Would you hope to have that person coerced out of homophobia (or being an asshole)? Would you hope to have that person thrown out of the lounge/airport? Or maybe thrown in jail?

    Do you think any of those actions would result in positive change of behavior of that person, or just serve as a shaming mechanism, just like the slur he used?

  9. @Lack – I think anyone who spews such an unwarranted, vile insult at someone in a place such as a lounge or airplane deserves to be thrown out. In this circumstance, he should have at least been thrown out of the lounge.

    Would this result in a positive change in his behavior? Probably not….but at least we know he wouldn’t be saying such things to anyone in the lounge. And who knows, he might think twice before doing it again.

  10. @Doug
    Would this result in a positive change to his sexuality? Probably not.. but at least we know he wouldn’t look/act gay in the lounge. And who knows, he might think twice about being gay as well.

    See the slipper slope? You may say fight fire with fire, but I expect a progressive people to not based their rhetoric on Hammurabi code principles. Unless they really like the results of recent elections where the guys who “might think twice before doing it again” showed their numbers.

  11. I think the whole scenario described in your blog post is horrendous. I think the parent is a terrible role model for his kids and for their entry into the real world. I think you were correct to go to the management but they should have advised the family before the incident involving you ever occurred and the parents should have been held accountable and asked to leave. I have experienced almost the exact same scenario with very, very similar response. Such responses are rude and hateful when what is required is an apology and boundary-setting for children. I am tired of “kids will just be kids” approach. I raised a daughter who flew with me for work. She flew 24 times before she was 2 and more thereafter. She had boundaries and learned respect for adults. Today she is a happily adjusted, employed adult. I am so sorry that you experienced such callous disregard and hate speech.

  12. @ Ben: whether our author is gay or not makes no difference when using the term, “faggot,” for anyone. That guy was being a first class bigot, no matter how your “values” stack up.

    Being asked if you are gay is not a problem. Being asked if you had children is not a problem. Being called a “faggot” is a major problem.

    @ our author and friends: I am sorry our author had to experience this. While it’s hard to imagine the Concorde Room staff could have done much even had the jerk been more quickly identified (it likely would have been a he said, he said scenario unable to be proven), I can understand reaching out to them. If nothing else, when attacked, it’s often a good idea to let people know.

    Our author wasn’t weak, either. Shell-shocked is probably more like it.

    In my case, being the strong-willed, aggressive, reactive, and adrenaline-junkie gay man that I am, i likely would have socked the jerk in the face. How do you like them apples?

  13. I would have punched the guy, what a wanker. Can I ask, were they Moslem? They seem to have difficulty controlling their brats and of course when they are not beating women ( it says thy are allowed to in the Quran ) they are vilifying, jailing and beating homosexuals.

  14. What a jerk this guy is. My husband and I have chosen not to have children and find it disrespectful when parents let their “princes and princesses’ (I use that term with sarcasm) run wild in places such as this. The Concorde room is not a wacky warehouse and we personally think under-16s should not be allowed in there. I know that’s tough but unfortunately for every parent who controls their child there are 2 that don’t give a s***.
    Any name calling is unforgivable in our eyes and I do not blame you for reporting it. It is such a sad society we live in that people feel the need to do this. Gay or not should not be coming into this.
    We honestly despair what society will be like in another 20 years when parents can’t control children today. We hope to have done all our travelling by then, be retired and living as far away from society as possible in some quiet corner of the globe.
    Keep posting @milesfromblighty and keep travelling – we would have been shell shocked the same.

  15. You were definitely correct to inform the management. The only thing I don’t get is not remembering exactly who the tosser was! Anyway you did the right thing.

    It never ceases to shock me the level of aggression you see in airports. At the very least this bloke deserved to be shown up by a reprimand in front of his kids – and when they ask Daddy what was going on he can explain the consequences of his behaviour to them which might mean they start to develop some behaviour boundaries which they clear are not having instilled into them now – which is a form of neglect. And my response to his question as to whether I had any kids in the first place would have been, “None of you ****ing business.” And I’d have been flamboyant about it ;).

  16. Good on you for talking about this here. I’m not a Star Trek fan of any magnitude, but I reckon Gene Roddenberry got it right that in the future, people will treat each other with respect and equality. That individual is stuck way back in the dark ages

  17. You were not weak. It’s not your job to somehow graciously deal with bigotry and awfulness. It’s the job of the bigot to grow up.

    It’s also part of the lounge’s job to make sure guests do not feel abused. If guests feel abused, it’s the lounge’s job to remove the offenders. They should’ve booted out the bigot and his family.

  18. This is upsetting to read, as a gay father and frequent traveler. Travel is stressful, especially with children, and often brings out the worst in people, but name calling is unacceptable. If you encounter such uncivilized behavior again from a parent, tell them that you don’t think they are setting a good example for their children, and that should touch a nerve.

  19. Oh! This would have been fun for me. I absolutely love to turn things around on aggressive people. I give em a big smile, say something to the effect of “this will be fun thanks for the kicks”, and gleefully stride right up to whomever will boot the person. Or call the cops right in front of them and describe their appearance and behavior accurately while looking directly at them with an open grin. Bullies expect you to be taken aback. I lean in.

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