Chick-fil-A

A few weeks ago, some friends and I were talking about what Dan Cathy had said about “traditional marriage” and his company’s viewpoint. I believe that they did have a right to do whatever they wanted, but that people needed to know what kind of company they supported and should be ashamed for supporting them. At the time of the conversation, my view had been somewhat mollified by a friend in that conversation saying that “Chick-Fli-A is a private company that can say and do whatever it’s wants to with the money that they receive from people buying their overpriced food.”

His statement made me think about what it was I was angry about. I had to think about why I was angry about this company coming out and saying that they were for “traditional values”. Was I angry about at them for stating their personal beliefs? Was I angry for having been a one time patron at one of their restaurants that opened near me? Was I angry that I had shaken Dan Cathy’s hand when he came into my work and I talked to him and the franchise owner? The simple answer is no, none of that was the reason.

A friend on a another social network said that he was tired of all the bullshit surrounding this. Tired of the constant back and forth. He’s gay. I’m gay. I agree with him. It’s stupid and petty and needs to stop. We know conservatives are never going to come around on the LGBTQI community, so let’s just move on to the next thing.

Except, it’s not stupid. It’s not petty. And we should be screaming at every company that does this. Screaming till our lungs burn and our eyes water. Till we run out of voice and it becomes raw and raspy. Then we will still scream by simply pushing air out of our lungs and past the vocal cords, not making a sound. We will scream.

What changed my opinion? Pictures of people lining up to eat. Hundreds of people lining up to eat chicken sandwiches from a company that promotes hate and intolerance. Here’s what got me thinking though. It was a picture of long lines at one of their stores.

Here is what I imagined:

It’s early in the afternoon and people have lined up for hours to get their food. The store is on a popular street, so traffic is brisk. The city buses run up and down this street. Taking people to and dropping them off wherever they need to go.

Because the bus stop is near the restaurant, lots of people stop by and get a quick bite to eat there most days. Now it seems that a majority of the riders are going there. Just to get a bite to eat.

There is one person who isn’t. A young man, probably 14. Could be a little younger. He get’s off the bus and walks past the restaurant. He looks at the parking lot and sees cars and trucks with pro-conservative messages on them. He recognizes a few of the vehicles, maybe even a few people in the crowd.

He walks home, in a funk because he can’t understand why people who have never met him hate him so much. He doesn’t realize that it’s because their scared of the world and how fast things change. That the people around him don’t care if they take away the rights of a “fringe group” so long as they do it in the name of their God, they are righteous.

Once he gets home, his mood darkens considerably. While in the kitchen looking for something to eat, he finds a discarded bag belonging to the company in the trash. A used relic from someone in his own family.

He’s been struggling with his sexuality for a while now. He told one friend about it and now that friend won’t talk to him. He can’t tell his family because they are part of the conservative group that hates “people like him”. Now, he sees yet another reminder of how the world hates him.

He knows he’s not alone. He knows that there are more people like him. Frank Ocean and George Takei and Chris Colfer and others. He knows all that. Yet he feels so alone at this very moment, that he does something foolish and permanent.

His parents never knew why their son died. Never knew the other side of him. All they know is that he died.

————————————————————————————————————————–

That is why I scream. To stop kids from killing themselves because they think the world hates them.

So, I will not sit idly by and let these companies do this. Declare war on me and my friends. Give money to organizations that seek to make me as irrelevant as humanly possible. I am not going to be meek while you try to squash my rights and harm others.

To the people who are “tired of it all”: sit on the sidelines of history and watch as the world passes you by. You won’t even be a footnote in the struggle.

To the people who stand in opposition of those of us who want, and will get, our equal rights: you are a dying culture. Your influence on these matters is not dying down slowly, it’s being pushed into its grave riding on a jet pack. We are not going to be silent anymore. Our young men and women are dying because they are different. More different than your tiny minds will ever be able to comprehend.

So I scream. Until my voice gives out. Until I am horse and raw and my voice falls silent. I scream into the air around me, using nothing but the air in my lungs. I scream.

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