A local super yacht operator has abandoned plans for an LGBT-friendly event after an employee said it did not want to target the “trashy transexual kind.”
The people behind LGBTQ meetup app Prout leaked the exchange with a Royal Albatross yacht employee on social media yesterday, at first without naming the company, adding that it would no longer work with it following insensitive messages about what “type” of people it wanted for the event.
“I just don’t want to damage my brand, only want like-minded people,” the unidentified yacht employee said over chat. “Because we [are] not targeting the trashy transexual kind who only want to create trouble.”
Netizens were quick to identify the operator as Sentosa island’s Royal Albatross, which has since apologized for the messages and dropped its Loveislove sail event.
Prout cofounder Cally Cheung told Coconuts yesterday that Royal Albatross has blocked her company on Instagram despite the ship’s CEO personally emailing her an apology.
“I have just communicated with the CEO as he emailed me personally to apologise and also share with me his public apology as our social media account remains blocked by them,” Cheung said.
According to Prout, the yacht operator reached out earlier this week for help promoting a series of private dinners targeting the LGBT community. Prout originally agreed to the idea and had even promoted it on Instagram until an unnamed Royal Albatross employee got back to say that the company only wanted the LG but not the T in LGBT.
“They are very intense and we don’t need the drama and they cannot afford. They only want to create trouble, maybe we are more to the gay and lesbians group?” screenshots of the exchange showed.
View this post on Instagram
CW: Transphobia (Image 4 & 5) Earlier this week, we were contacted by a company that focuses on providing getaways/luxurious experiences. They wanted to collaborate on a LGBTQ themed event, and we agreed to do so as we saw a number of LGBTQ facebook groups, LGBTQ venues and LGBTQ individuals promoting their LGBTQ themed event. Today, within 10 mins of our social media and telegram post going public, the company contacted us to ask if there were any “transsexuals” following us. After further communication, the company said that they are open only to those who are “classy and willing to spend”, and not targeting the “trashy transsexual kind who only want to create trouble”. Upon hearing this, we immediately took down all the posts related to that event. Firstly, as a LGBTQ community group, we want to emphasize that marginalised communities are not here to be exploited by brands and companies to tap on the pink dollar for. If a company is not truly inclusive and does not contribute to uplifting the community, we have no wish to collaborate with them. Secondly, to call the trans community “trashy” is offensive and degrading. Transgender persons have historically been discriminated, and it is utterly dehumanizing to use the word “trashy” as it reinforces stigma against them. Prout DOES NOT stand for transphobia. Thirdly, the term “transsexual” is dated, and can be offensive to those within the trans community. It is more appropriate to address the community as the transgender community. When in doubt, always ask the preferred term. As a LGBTQ community group, we are committed to standing with our transgender friends. We have conveyed our disapproval to the company, and reiterated that it is unacceptable to chase the pink dollar without any real consideration for the community. We hope that companies that wish to market to the LGBTQ community will do their homework, understand the struggles our community face, and be true allies.
Royal Albatross apologized for what it described as its employee’s “bad choice of words” yesterday while reiterating the event is only meant for the “gay and lesbian community.”
“The comments do not represent the position of this company, we retract them entirely and we apologise. We have since corrected the staff member and we will ensure we are more sensitive when it comes to our future communications. We are gender neutral and welcome everyone,” the statement read.
“In the meantime, have suspended our #LoveIsLove sail as we need to educate ourselves on the diverse communities,” it added.
View this post on Instagram
Sincere apologies from our Management. We would like to thank all those that supported our #LoveIsLove sail – a private event targeted at the gay and lesbian community. Special thanks to those in that community to whom we reached out to; that validated the concept and also offered to sell tickets via their own personal platforms. Our objective was to provide a private romantic dinner cruise experience without judgement. Yesterday, a staff member communicated privately with someone and used a bad choice of words to address our target audience. The comments do not represent the position of this company, we retract them entirely and we apologise. We have since corrected the staff member and we will ensure we are more sensitive when it comes to our future communications. In hindsight, we were naïve not to take into consideration the diversity of the entire LGBTQ+ community. We are sincerely sorry to have offended by what was said, it was not our intent to exclude any particular group. We are gender neutral and welcome everyone. In the meantime, have suspended our #LoveIsLove sail as we need to educate ourselves on the diverse communities. We invite any group organizers who would be interested in helping us and or holding events like these to contact us privately. Again, we apologize to anyone that was offended. Tall Ship Adventures Pte Ltd
Prout called Royal Albatross’ statement “strange and awkward” while noting that some members of the public are still unfamiliar with LGBT terminology. Calling people “trashy” is “utterly dehumanizing” and the term “transsexual” is outdated, it said.
The ship’s founder and CEO Peter L Pela told Coconuts yesterday that they are looking to provide “diversity training” for staff and will hold an event in the future for all.
“I would add we have already started looking into providing diversity training to our staff as we do need to understand more about the sensitivities involved. I would also like to add we are only postponing our plans to hold such an event and we are looking forward to holding a successful event in the future where everyone is welcome,” he said in a statement.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Royal Albatross’ statement.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Prout was the first to identify the company. In fact, Royal Albatross was identified by social media users.
Other stories you should check out:
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!