I would have loved to be there when someone said “Hey, let’s ask Southern people to give up fried chicken for gay rights.” That sounds like a hilarious meeting filled with people whose perception of reality is dabbled with roses and bubbles and drag queens
slow dancing with a suddenly supportive (now ex) Pope Benedict. What a wonderful thing it must be to live in that person’s mind.
It’s been almost a year since Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A COO and exceptionally lifelike gargoyle, set the American media ablaze with inflammatory religious rhetoric, deep liver spots and considerable contributions to anti-gay organizations. Since that blessedly deceased media cycle there have been Gay kiss-ins in opposition to Chick-fil-A’s policies, a Mike Huckabee sponsored “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" in support of Chick-fil-A’s policies, and lines that make it absolute murder to grab one of those deep fried delights on Sunset Boulevard, Chick-fil-A’s most convenient LA location.
Like the posturing of our political representatives or manufactured ire of nighttime anchors, America’s ever-waning attention has moved on from Chick-fil-A’s bigotry balderdash and onto fresher ratings fields -- and I’m quite glad about that. Just last week I strode into my medium-pretty Hollywood apartment, slammed down a hot bag already dimpled with chicken grease, and eagerly opened the white cardboard box containing my present to myself for not excessively tormenting any customers that day.
My roommate Jessica (straight, blonde, baller) stared at the bag with one finely arched eyebrow.
"Are you really going to eat that?” she asked, with a roll of the eyes and wrinkle of the brow. Jessica was a theatre major and often more up to date with the gay cause du-jour than I.
“Of course I am. What should I care what Chick-fil-A thinks about my love life? I don’t care about theirs.”
Jessica, being straight and sane, let the point drop and began creeping on my waffle fries like there was no tomorrow/calorie content.
Later I brought the question up to a room from of West Hollywood lesbians: "Why do you care what Chick-fil-A does?" The short answer is: "Because they’re fucking with us and we want to fuck back."
That is medium true. Since Cathy said “I think we are inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about,” both sides turned out to sell America on their agenda.
A moderately successful pro-gay "kiss in" and extraordinarily successful anti-gay “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” were held, but word on where Chick-fil-A’s stance lies is currently mixed.
According to The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Chick-fil-A has “ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights.” Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate wrote a letter stating, “The WinShape Foundation [Chick-fil-A’s charitable, Christian leaning arm] is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process with remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”
BUT WAIT. Do not sprinkle glitter in the air in a savage ceremonial gay victory ceremony -- this is maybe true but not really. The odious middle American fascistas at Focus On The Family want you to know that Chick-fil-A, like them, is unimpressed with your leftist bullying and has absolutely not been swayed by public disfavor.
Focus On The Family’s website, CitizenLink.com, insists that “Chick-fil-A and its charitable giving arm, the WinShape Foundation, did not agree to stop making donations to groups that support the biblical definition of marriage in exchange for being allowed to open a franchise in Chicago."
Those of you with excellent memory will remember how Rahm Emanuel, Chicago mayor and charmingly abrasive man I would totally go straight for, used Cathy’s fanatical diatribe to obsequiously pander to gay and liberal sensibilities by crying ‘Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values... They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, as it would be empty.’”
Sensing an emotional public and fetching if rapidly calcifying target in Dan Cathy, a veritable cornucopia of politicians emerged to pose and remind the American public that they, yes they, were on the front lines fighting for gay rights vis-a-vis sandwiches.
Of course all the political posturing was for naught -- public servants can’t actually ban companies helmed by vile zealots from because that is not strictly legal in the sense that banning companies based on the religious beliefs of their owners is prohibited right at the tippy top of our constitution.
So what was the point of it all? Once the buzz dies down, has anything really been changed for better or worse? No. Nothing has changed. The status quo changes not by quick fads in popular culture but by time, because people cannot change as quickly as a news cycle.
People are pretty much the same day by day, month by month, year by year; only after a series of years do we see a significant differences being made. It’s not about flashy speeches, it’s about consistent and moderate pressure.
Chick-fil-A’s profits are just as irrelevant to my life and happiness as the religious beliefs of Chick-fil-A’s owners. I can sleep easy knowing that while the status quo may remain in place today and even tomorrow, in time the hatred and discrimination will crumble just as political acceptance of homophobia and intolerance has crumbled in the last decade.
Perhaps my ambivalent attitude toward homophobia comes from a decade spent amongst the dixie T’s and shotguns prevalent to white trash Florida, where wide-eyed hypocrisy runs deep as a Pentecostal’s throat on Saturday night.
Someone disapproving of homosexuality does not disturb me in the slightest; I come from a place where homophobia was the norm and gays lived their lives based upon “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” I’m young enough to rage at oppression but old enough to acknowledge that we live in a wondrous time, the first time in America’s history when I can be gay and say that publicly, without being shunned. I never expected that. I didn’t grow up with that.
Cathy and his ilk can go ahead licking chicken grease from their fingertips while railing against the abomination of homosexuality. They are old and loathsome and distanced from an increasingly tolerant population. When they die, their children will cave a little, then their grandchildren will cave a little, and so on.
In the war for gay rights, this battle was a draw at best and loss at worst. However, what is far more interesting to me is what the public and political reaction says about gays as a politically desirable group. We are worth pandering to. We are the public. We have the power -- all Dan Cathy has is money.