“Obesity Is A Choice”: Plus-Size Travel Influencer Faces Disturbing Discrimination

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Jae’lynn Chaney is unfortunately no stranger to facing discrimination and mistreatment because of her size. But the popular plus-size travel influencer’s recent experience at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has to rank among the most appalling.

Image credits: jaebaeproductions

The 27-year-old had requested wheelchair assistance for her flight, which is something she always does when traveling due to mobility limitations. As a self-described “plus-size wheelchair user,” Jae’lynn knows her body’s needs and capabilities.

Image credits: jaebaeproductions

As Jae’lynn approached the gate for her flight to an unknown destination, the airport staff member responsible for assisting her with a wheelchair took one disdainful glance in her direction. In that moment, it seemed the employee had already prejudged the blogger, dismissing her need for assistance as too burdensome a task to undertake. For the employee’s subsequent actions left little doubt that apathy and indifference had regrettably taken precedence over duty and compassion.

According to Jae’lynn’s horror story, recounted in a viral TikTok video, the worker began walking away while making rude comments about the influencer’s size. Despite Jae’lynn’s pleas that she genuinely needed the wheelchair, the employee flat-out ignored her and kept moving without a care in the world.

Image credits: jaebaeofficial

So there was Jae’lynn, forced to huff and puff her way down an exceedingly long jet bridge simply to reach her seat. The entire ordeal was a struggle, made even more treacherous by the fact that this was her first time flying without supplemental oxygen, which she typically uses.

“My lips had turned white as my oxygen levels had dropped,” Jae’lynn tearfully recalled. “I almost fainted.”

Image credits: jaebaeofficial

The awful scenario laid everything bare. While other passengers were whisked to their seats, Jae’lynn’s needs were brushed aside because of the assumption that, since she’s plus-size, she could just “walk it off” without issue. The employee didn’t seem to care about accommodating her or her disabilities whatsoever.

Jae’lynn was direct in voicing her frustration: “This employee made the unfair assumption that I could walk, preferring that I do so rather than her having to assist someone of my size onto the jet bridge. This kind of discriminatory treatment toward individuals with disabilities is unacceptable. No one should face such prejudiced behavior.”

Image credits: jaebaeofficial

The demeaning incident is a prime example of why Jae’lynn launched a petition last year demanding airlines and airports establish clear-cut policies for accommodating “customers of size.” Things like providing extra seating, accessible bathrooms, knowledgeable training for staff, and more. The petition has already amassed nearly 40,000 signatures out of its 50,000 goal.

“This is why airports need employee sensitivity training,” Jae’lynn stressed in her video. Because as it stands, there’s a disgusting lack of education and regulations in place to protect plus-size travelers from these dehumanizing situations.

Unsurprisingly, Jae’lynn’s video documenting her traumatic experience struck a nerve with many viewers. While the typical chorus of body-shamers attempted to diminish her ordeal by spewing vile comments like “obesity is a choice,” countless others expressed sympathy and echoed her calls for change across the travel industry.

Image credits: jaebaeofficial

“Sending positivity! No one should be discriminated against for their body or abilities,” offered one supportive commenter. Another aptly stated, “If you think walking your own body up a jet bridge is hard, imagine having to PUSH someone up it, especially as a smaller woman.”

The resounding message: Having a disability or existing in a larger body does not give anyone a free pass to dehumanize, disrespect or endanger you. EveryBODY deserves to be treated with basic human dignity when traveling, working, or simply existing in public.

“The battle for inclusivity across industries, especially travel, is far from over,” declared Jae’lynn with conviction. “Every individual, irrespective of their physical attributes, capabilities, or any other characteristic, merits respect and dignity. Let us unite in solidarity to champion equality for all, leaving no one behind.”

@jaebaeofficial Wasn't sure when I'd share this, but staying silent isn't an option anymore. If you've faced something similar, you're not alone. Discrimination is real, and I don’t want anyBODY else to ever experience something like this. I don’t plan on stopping the fight for change in the travel industry and beyond. EveryBODY deserves respect and dignity, regardless of size, ability, or any other factor. Let's stand together to ensure equality for all. ⁣⁣ •⁣⁣ •⁣⁣ •⁣⁣ #BodyEqualityInTravel #TravelForAll #AccessForAll #PlusSize #PlusSizeTravel #FlyingWhileFat #TravelingWhileFat #FlyingWhilePlusSize #PlusSizeTravelPetition ♬ Sad song by piano and violin(886018) – NOVA

Seattle-Tacoma International has yet to issue a statement on this disturbing incident involving one of their employees. But the court of public opinion has already rendered its verdict – Jae’lynn Chaney is an admirable, brave voice for advocating for the rights of millions who’ve faced similar indignities. Her story is a wake-up call that the travel industry needs to do much, much better.

Source: boredpanda

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