The Gay Rosa Parks: What Happened To Ari Gold On That Bus?
Last month we shared the almost unbelievable story of a gay couple being told to move to the back of a bus by the driver for daring to…GASP…hold hands. While many of our readers were deeply offended, we just couldn’t conceive of a man making his way beyond fourth grade without learning a thing or two about Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement.
A good rule of thumb in life is that you don’t force people to move to the back of the bus. This pointer will generally serve you well in any circumstance.
The Advocate has published an interview with the couple, singer Ari Gold and his boyfriend. The entire article is worth a moment of your time, but here are the greatest hits.
Ari Gold: Yes. My boyfriend quickly pulled away from me because he got scared. I took his hand back and said no, we’re not going to move to the back of the bus. The driver said he was going to have us kicked off the bus and was going to call the state troopers.
What did you say to the driver when he told you to move to the back of the bus? He said if you want to sit like that you can sit in the back. We told him we didn’t want to. He said if we want to sit like that he’d call the state troopers and have us kicked off the bus.
How long was the bus stopped while waiting for the police to arrive? About 15 minutes.
What was the response from the other passengers? No one knew why the bus was delayed. One girl behind us may have known because I think she saw everything going on. She just looked at us and said, “Don’t worry. You didn’t do anything wrong.” But nobody else knew anything. I asked my boyfriend if I should stand up and say something. Before we pulled over the bus driver was talking on the phone angry about this while he was driving a bus full of people.
How did the other passengers react to that? At that point, people got pretty pissed and said: “You have rights, too.” Someone else said, “I’m going to miss a concert.”
What did the state trooper say to the driver? He said that nothing we were doing is illegal. The bus driver kept asking the trooper, “Is there nothing you can do?” The trooper said no. Then the state trooper again gave us the option of moving to the back of the bus. Even though the trooper didn’t arrest us, we didn’t feel particularly protected by them because at that point I asked if we could file a report so it was all written down. It was so clear that the driver described that his problem was with us sitting there. It was clear that it was the fact that we were two men holding hands. We hadn’t been kissing or anything like that. Since we had the trooper as a witness I wanted the report to be filed, but he wouldn’t file it.
Thank goodness other passengers on the bus let these boys know that they had their backs. And while it doesn’t take a middle school graduate to know that the driver’s behavior absolutely infringed up the couples’ civil rights, the passage of marriage equality in New York should make it pretty damn clear to that driver in any future situation.
The bigot is the one with the problem. Not the couple holding hands.