Tiny Love Stories: ‘A Truth I Had Tried to Ignore’ By Traci Brauer
On April 26, 2004, I was sitting in an Austin airport. I was returning from a trip to the Bay Area when a flight attendant came by and informed me that my ticket and baggage had been denied. I was flying to Los Angeles with my boyfriend, a pilot from the Army, and his best friend and best buddy, who was an Air Force Academy grad. I couldn’t believe it. This had to be some kind of mistake.
In what I later learned, my name and some personal information had been entered on the list of passengers that the airline had made to their computer. Once I heard that my name had been in that list, I wondered, “Why?” After all, I wasn’t a terrorist, a drug dealer, nor a violent felon. I was just an average, law-abiding woman.
As the story continues, I thought long and hard about why I was being denied boarding. After some research I determined that it had more to do with my sexual orientation than my gender. I was just as much a victim of the system as my boyfriend and friend. I could easily imagine how people who were in the military or employed in any military-oriented field would feel when they went for a military flight with their friends and family members.
After many hours of searching, the TSA supervisor apologized and promised to refund my ticket. I was still angry, as I was not only a victim but I was also a minority. Still determined to get my name on the passengers’ list, I reached out to the ACLU through my friend Amy who made many phone calls. Eventually, after many hours, my name was added to the list of passengers, and the airline refunded my ticket.
A few days later, I told my boyfriend and best friend what had happened while they were flying to Los Angeles. What followed is a small story about how small communities can be forced to live by the rules and regulations of a larger, more powerful country if we do not fight for our rights.
I was sitting in my room in my mother’s house, waiting for a visitor. I was just 15-years-old, but I thought I was older than that. I was a child of