The Chick-fil-A Fried Chicken Fiasco Is a Harsh Reminder of the Hatred That Gays and Lesbians Face

The state of the universe.
Aug. 6 2012 2:00 PM

The Prideful, Arrogant President of Chick-fil-A

Why ignorance of human sexuality is dangerous.

(Continued from Page 2)

If you’re doubtful of the danger of stupidity, consider a sampling of public tweets I’ve dredged up by combining gay epithets with “Chick-fil-A.” (Try your own search on Twitter; the concentrated hate goes on for miles. Or more here.) I should warn you in advance that this list is chilling, especially if you or someone you love, perhaps your child, is gay or lesbian. But for those of us normally surrounded by at least moderately bright and kind people, it is too easy to lose sight of the animus that gays and lesbians face in American society. I also think it’s important to be aware of just how Cathy’s religious statements—no matter his “love the sinner, hate the sin” jargon, no matter the issue of free speech—actually translates for a populace that is always ready to pounce on an opportunity to dehumanize its most vulnerable. In implying that God sees homosexuals as evil, Cathy declared open season on us.  

It is society that is sick, not the sexual minorities. Yet the most tragic thing about this admittedly odd cultural flare-up involving a chicken chain and gay rights is that there are countless—and I mean that quite literally, since I suspect many will be inspired to retreat permanently into their closets after an incident so vile as this—gay teenagers and young adults who have been watching in silent terror as it has all unfolded. For them, every single body on proud display at the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” not to mention those leaning out of their car windows to scream “faggots!” and “dykes!” at gay couples milling about or kissing, was a tangible reminder of just how much they really do have to fear in this country. (Meanwhile, we’re trying to convince them that “It Gets Better.”) So know this: From the unspoken perspective of all the petrified, closeted 15-year-olds out there (I used to be one myself, after all), it makes absolutely no difference, none whatsoever, what your motives are in rallying behind Chick-fil-A. All they see is your raw hate.

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Let Aug. 1, 2012, go down as a day of infamy and national disgrace. On that day, at-risk gay youth all over this country watched as an endless, self-righteous trail of Americans wrapped itself round and round Chick-fil-A franchises across the land. And in this rare agglutination of the moral majority, they glimpsed the living, breathing presence of a brutal force whose sole aim it is to bully them into one of three equally disastrous directions: that of sham heterosexual marriage (and the deception of an opposite-sex spouse); the repressed life of a hypocritical moralizer, or that of virginal, social reclusion. My message to any young LGBT people who’ve been understandably rattled by this depressing affair is this: If these kinds of “lifestyles” are preferable for the religious right over the “alternative lifestyle” of living honestly and openly with the person you love, in matrimony, then fuck them. Oh, and by the way, fuck you, if you’re one of them.

Correction, Aug. 6, 2012: This article originally misidentified Dan Cathy as CEO of Chick-fil-A. He is the president and COO of Chick-fil-A, but his father, Truett Cathy, is the CEO.

Jesse Bering is the author of Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us. Read his columns here and follow him at jessebering.com, @JesseBering, or on Facebook.

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