The Prideful, Arrogant President of Chick-fil-A
Why ignorance of human sexuality is dangerous.
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.
- Going to Chick-fil-A cause I hate fags #Merica
- dont bring your children to chick fil a tonight. all the fags are gonna be there making out
- You ignorant dykes need to shut the fuck up about this Chick fil a shit! IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT...DON'T EAT IT! Simple!
- Lol at all the fags protrsting chick-fil-a. Its a fucking fast food resturant calm down #hahaha
- who the FUCK cares that Chick-Fil-A's owner doesnt support gay rights? its called freedom of speech, so take the #cock out of your #ass fags
- And a child will suffer: a carpet muncher holdin a child in front of a disappoint showin at Chick-fil-A this should make all Fags proud
- Protesting against chick fil a is goin to get you nowhere its his own beliefs he has the freedom of speech freedom of religion shut up dikes
- Relax you fags. Chick-fil-a is only trying to save you the torture of marriage, you can still butt fuck and spread aids all you want
- Hell no all this fags talking about walking in to chick-fil-a and kissing each other... Hell no whos down to shoot the place up?? Lmao
- yall faggots n dikes can serve n the military openly now yaw wanna take chick-fil-a from us. smh
- Oh, I BEG you to go. Please, please, PLEASE go to Chick-fil-A and try to beat up some faggots. #rudeawakening
- All these faggots at chick fil a bout to catch a bat to the head I'm against this shit go get you some pussy
- Real shit if I see some faggots kissing at Chick-fil-A its going down I'm hittin they mf ass with rocks
- If I go eat chick- fil- a anytime soon and there are faggots on protest making out in there I will throw up all over them I promise.
- Everybody needs to eat chick-fil a. Down with the faggots!! #queerspolutingthiscountry
- Dad wouldn't go to Chick fil a cuz he said he didn't wanna see all the faggots. LOL #ILoveYouDAD
- The only #hate is towards #Chick-Fil-A from #faggots and #dikes
- I love chick Fil a even more , now that they hate queers.
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.
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 The Belief Instinct and Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? (July 2012). He is a frequent contributor to Slate and writes the "Bering in Mind" column for scientificamerican.com. His next book will be on the curiously scandalous science of human sexuality. Follow him at www.jessebering.com, on Twitter @JesseBering, or try adding him on Facebook.