Change the World

United Airlines Detains Gay Dad for Having Hand “Too Close” to Son’s Genitals

The friendly skies haven’t been quite so friendly this week, particularly to gay dads. Just days after two gay men were allegedly denied family boarding on Southwest Airlines, news broke that another gay passenger aboard a United Airlines aircraft was detained for having his hand and arm “too close” to his 5-year-old son’s genitals.

We caught up with passenger, Henry Amador-Batten, to ask him about the incident.

“Well, they literally mentioned nothing to us on the flight, other than the flight attendant’s glance and the question about if I was traveling with the people in front of us,” he wrote to us. “It was not until we were escorted off the plane by the police did they tell us that a complaint had been made, in flight, that a crew member observed my hand and arm too close to my son’s genitals.”

Henry and his son, Ben, were on their way back to North Carolina after spending an emotional two weeks in Puerto Rico caring for his ailing father, who had just passed away. His son is afraid of flying, Henry said, so he had placed his arm on his lap to help comfort him.

The incident on the aircraft became public after Henry’s husband, Joel, took to Facebook to vent his frustration:

“Tonight my husband was detained after disembarking a United flight to RDU because a member of the flight crew made an accusation that my husband's hand/arm laying across my sleeping son's lap was too close to the ‘child's genitals,’” he wrote. “This is not how anyone deserves to be treated. This is not something that should have happened in front of my son. This is not something that anyone should have to worry about happening to them on a flight just because someone might not like the looks of them.”

Last April, United made headlines for aggressively removing a passenger from its aircraft so that a crew member could take his place. The company issued several apologies following the backlash, and has been attempting to improve its image with airline passengers turned off by the incident ever since.

But just one month later, the company once again finds itself issuing an apology for its poor handling of a situation:

“Our customers should always be treated with the utmost respect,” a spokesman said in a statement. “We have followed up with the customer directly and we apologized for the situation.”

For Henry, however, the airline’s apology rings hollow.

“The response was empty and mechanical,” he told us. “It was delivered by a United employee that is obviously paid to make these calls. She tried to be sympathetic in one breath and with another asked us to keep this ‘low key’ especially with all the bad press they've been getting lately.”

No one would take a baseless accusation of pedophilia lightly. But what United Airlines may have disregarded in its handling of this incident is how troublesome such a charge is for gay and bisexual men in particular. We have long contended with the completely unwarranted societal belief that gay men are somehow predisposed to pedophilia. It’s an accusation that has been lobbed against us throughout history to great effect. It’s been used to get us fired from teaching jobs, deny us marriage rights, and prevent us from adopting or serving as foster parents.

“I was mortified and terrified for my child and what this accusation could do to our family,” Henry said, when asked how his family was doing now. “We're still having a hard time. Ben has refused to sleep in his own bed since that night. He just wants to be right by his daddies.”


Read More:

Gay Dads Denied Family Boarding on Southwest

Kentucky Judge Won't Grant Adoptions to Gay Parents

Nebraska Strikes Down Last Ban on LGBTQ Foster Parents in the U.S.

Show Comments ()
Change the World

Gay Dads Use 'TikTok' To Fight for Acceptance

Kevin and Ivo are fighting to normalize LGBTQ parents through TikTok, a growing social media platform

"Are we fearful we're going to turn our son gay?" Kevin DiPalma, a red-bearded man, asks the camera.

"No!" says Kevin's son, Nasim, says

"Are we worried about bullies when he gets to school?" Kevin asks next.

"Yes!" Nasim said.

Thus is the nature of the videos Kevin and his husband Ivo upload to their TikTok account, a widely popular and rapidly growing social media platform among young people.

Within 6 months, the family had 200,000 followers across their social media.

See a complication of some of their videos below!


Change the World

A Year of "Dadvocacy" with Dove Men+Care

This past year, Gays With Kids has partnered with Dove Men+Care to fight for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads.

Throughout 2019, we've been advocating alongside our partners Dove Men+Care for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. We've encouraged our community of gay, bi, and trans dads, along with our allies, to sign the Pledge for Paternity Leave, and we've been part of the Dove Men+Care and PL+US Day of Action on Capitol Hill as a group of Dadvocates, lead by Alexis Ohanian, spoke with lawmakers and shared their paternity leave stories.

We created six videos of dads in our community sharing their paternity leave stories, numerous social posts, and over eight articles on the topic. We've helped collect close to 40,000 signatures for this vital cause, but the fight continues.

We sat down with one of the Dadvocates who played a huge role in organizing the Day of Action, Vice President / General Manager at Unilever, Skin Cleansing & Baby Care USA Nick Soukas, for a Q&A on his thoughts on and experiences of the day itself.

Keep reading...
Change the World

This LGBTQ Children's Book Is About "Everyday Adventures"

"Little Panda's First Picnic," is a children's book that's about an adventure — where the parents just happen to be LGBTQ.

Guest post written by Denise Sensiba

When was the last time you read a book to your child that didn't make a big deal about the parents being LGBT and instead just followed the family on their everyday adventures? Or when was the last time you read a children's picture book that was explaining in detail what a heterosexual couple is? Probably never.

As a parent, prior nanny, early childhood music educator, and current psychotherapist, I have read my fair share of children's books and have always found it to be an enjoyable part of my life. Unfortunately, LGBT families have an incredibly small fraction of the children's books market. The few books that I encountered about same-sex parents did not follow the family as a normal family but focused on nothing more than the same-sex parents. They don't take you on adventures, or teach everyday educational lessons that our children need. Some of these books even deliver a weird message in between the lines saying, "see, same-sex couples can be loving parents." I wondered how that is teaching our kids that there is nothing unusual about LGBT families?

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse