Olympian and Boyfriend Held Hours for Questioning in Alleged Homophobic Airport Incident

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday September 12, 2021
Originally published on September 10, 2021

Douglas Souza, a member of the Brazilian Olympic men's volleyball team, was reportedly held for hours with his boyfriend at airport customs in Rome.

Souza took to social media to shared details of the incident that he calls the result of homophobia, reported Queerty.

In a series of Instagram stories, Souza explained that he and his boyfriend they were going through Rome customs when an airport worker reportedly took offense that they are in a relationship.

"Basically, it was me and my boyfriend, we took a flight from São Paulo to Amsterdam and there we had to go through passport control to go to Rome," Souza said, explaining that things were "super cool" until he pointed out that he was traveling with his boyfriend to a security worker.

"When I said it was my boyfriend, his face changed and so did the treatment," Souza said, Queerty reported. "He asked what Gabriel was going to do there, I showed him the stable union document. I said he would accompany me."

According to Souza, another security person was then called over and they were led to a different area to wait "about five hours without any kind of explanation." Then more interrogation.

"They hit the key again about who Gabriel was, and I tried to explain that it was my boyfriend and they had a lot of difficulty understanding," Souza said. "We had the document of the common-law marriage. They absolutely didn't want to let Gabriel pass."

All in all, Souza said they spent around "15 hours at the airport," and he didn't think the ordeal was "normal."

"It was very embarrassing," Souza said. "It is important to show that this type of situation exists."

Souza came out as gay in 2020, saying he wants to be "remembered as the first homosexual to play volleyball at a high level in Brazil". In 2016, he helped his team win gold at the Rio Olympic Games.