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Crime

Homophobic taxi driver tries to tell gay man that being gay is caused by immunisation shots

Meka Beresford June 20, 2017
A homophobic Lyft driver tried to tell Austin that being gay was a choice

A homophobic Lyft driver tried to tell Austin that being gay was a choice (Photo provided by Austin Vaden)

PinkNews Exclusive
A homophobic taxi driver tried to tell a gay man that being gay was caused by immunisation shots administered by the government.

The driver for Lyft, a mobile taxi hailing service, went on a homophobic rant about gay people having a choice about their sexuality in front of a gay passenger.

The driver, known only as Jacqualine, told the man that she believed that health professionals were putting something in vaccine shots which caused children to be gay.

Austin Vaden, the passenger in the car, has told PinkNews that he was horrified by what his driver was saying.

The 31-year-old explained that the after the driver realised he was gay she told him that her own daughter had come out as a lesbian, something which she clearly did not accept.

This was the “turning point” for the driver, Vaden said.

He told PinkNews: “I’m barely ever at a loss for words, but when she kept going on and on about homosexuality being a choice and how vaccinations were making men gay, I had no idea what to say.

“When people believe things that crazy, you aren’t going to change their minds in a 10-minute drive.”

Vaden recorded the interaction, which PinkNews has transcribed.

He explained that he thought it was best to record the driver because he was “triggered” when she said homosexuality was “a choice”.

“That kind of mindset will always bother me,” he said.

It comes after a man was kicked out of a Lyft taxi last year when the driver released a tirade of homophobic abuse onto the passenger.

The incident happened in Atlanta, Georgia, a state which historically has an issue with LGBT discrimination.

Vaden explained that he was on his way to meet friends and as soon as he was at the destination he got out of the car as quickly as possible.

Once with his friends, he recounted the incident to his friends, who were understandably mad.

“I told them what happened and showed them the videos, and their reactions were not as calm as mine. I think I was just so bewildered that this was actually happening,” he explained.

They were all confused why the driver would say such offensive remarks to a passenger, but the group were also worried about the driver’s daughter “because it sounds like she hadn’t accepted her”.

The HR worker has contacted Lyft and complained about the driver, and he said has “faith” in the company “to take action”.

They have since deactivated the driver from the platform after further inquiry by PinkNews.

Vaden explained that he thinks the driver was lucky to have him in the car because he reacted so calmly.

“I think she had the right person in the car because someone could have definitely reacted much differently than I did.”

He added that he knew people were still homophobic, but hopes that it would not stop young LGBT people from coming out.

“I know this mindset is out there, and I truly feel for their family members who are too afraid to be themselves because of their families’ beliefs or opinions,” he added.

Scott Coriell, a spokesperson for Lyft, told PinkNews: Lyft has a strict anti-discrimination policy. We are committed to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community, and these comments are completely at odds with our values as a company.

“As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we deactivated the driver from the Lyft platform. No one using our service should ever feel discriminated against because of who they are, and we have reached out to the passenger to express our concern about this incident.”

More: choice, Gay, Georgia, Homophobia, immunisation shot, LGBT, Lyft, taxi driver, US

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