LGBT Etiquette


"We were turned away from the inn!"

Question: My partner and I were in the U.K. last summer. When we got to our B&B the proprietor took one look at us and said, “Gays aren’t allowed” and refused to honor our reservation. We were too stunned by his rudeness to react in the moment. What would have been the proper thing to do?

Answer: No matter how much planning you do, same-sex couples should be prepared for all sorts of negative reactions when not on their home turf, ranging from surprise to snickers or even epithets from locals who aren’t used to seeing LGBT people or families. In general, I’d suggest you not engage (if only to keep safe), move on, and enjoy your time elsewhere. But in Great Britain, you also could have filed a complaint with the appropriate authorities, since it’s illegal there to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. And if you’re not a shrinking violet, you can always call the local press and make your case directly to the public. That’s perfectly proper under the circumstances. You won’t get to sleep in the bed you reserved, but one day some other couple might be so fortunate.

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