Thalys, a European train company that operates primarily between northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, has an established history of support for the LGBT community. In addition to participating in Amsterdam Pride, Thalys has featured same-sex couples in advertisements (such as the one above). That’s why Mirjam, a member of All Out, was so taken aback when an employee told her not to kiss her girlfriend on the train platform.
When Mirjam reported the incident to Thalys, including the attendant’s comments that it would have been all right if they were a heterosexual couple, the company failed to respond. All Out launched an online petition, calling on Thalys to denounce the blatant case of homophobia, and more than 60,000 signatures later, the company’s CEO, Agnes Ogier, has issued a response:
“We want to be very clear: neither words nor actions with homophobic connotation will be tolerated by Thalys. Following the reporting of this serious incident, we have immediately triggered an investigation, in collaboration with our service provider RailRest, where the concerned employee works. We can confirm that the individual has already been suspended and that an investigation is ongoing…”
This incredible case shows not only the power of a concerted outcry, but also the resolve of Thalys to reshape its policies in line with the image of tolerance and pro-LGBT acceptance it claims to espouse. Furthermore, according to All Out’s Executive Director, Andre Banks:
"Thalys has committed to improving its training so that all customers are treated equally, whether lesbian, gay, bi or straight. Thalys will use the unfortunate homophobia experienced by All Out member Mirjam in its equality training for staff, to ensure that no other Thalys customer is ever treated so shamefully.”