33 Chilean miners, all male, have been trapped in horrid conditions for over two months, living close together in a tight space, rubbing up against each other, and suffering from loneliness and isolation from their loved ones.
Despite, or perhaps because, they have been living with 32 other men for so long, their anxiousness to return to their families took a back-seat to what they considered a more pressing concern.
“They have apparently decided they would like to stay in the mine another day,” announced a shocked Jaime Feliciano, the Rescue Operation Coordinator. “We told them, ‘Hey, we can help you guys out today, we’ll support you 100%, we won’t think any less of you or anything.’ But they weren’t having any of it.”
In an unprecedented unanimous decision, the Chilean miners decided exiting the mine on the Gay-Pride Holiday known as “Coming-Out Day” might present a confusing idea of what (and who) went down during the lonely nights of their 68-day horror.
Despite widespread condemnation from gay-rights groups around the world, the Chilean miners held their ground, waiting the extra day before allowing rescue operations to commence. “I think it just goes to show how far we have to go before true equality is reached.” said Jorge Moreno, a gay-rights activist in Chile. “They’d rather live in their own shit for an extra day just so they don’t get mistaken for a gay person? It’s outrageous and offensive.”
In an emotional scene, the first miner was lifted up through the hole in a rescue capsule. As he staggered out, seeing sunlight for the first time in months, tears streamed down his face. As the audience erupted into applause, the miner made an emotional plea to the rescue workers to work faster, noting, “You only have 24 hours to get them out. We refuse for our rescue to be continued to the 69th as well.”