Where I stand on this Chick-Fil-A thing

My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly 5 years. For at least 3 ½ of those years, he has been helping me raise my daughter. Regardless of our marital standing, he is very much a father figure in her life. He doesn’t want to get married – it’s never been on his radar. I’m of the “been there, done that, no thanks” mindset. Still, I love him and he’s been a positive part of my life for a long time now.

Oh, and he happens to be black.

I don’t really bring that up unless it’s pertinent to a conversation, which isn’t really often (pretty much only when I talk about his parents moving here from Guyana or when I’m telling the story of when my daughter told me “Kes’ skin is different from mine” and then followed it up with “mine’s smooth and his is dry”). But it’s pertinent to this conversation.

My father is racist. He always has been. As a teenager, he told me that he would disown me if I ever dated a black man. When I was 17, I went with a black friend to a school dance – I made sure to send my dad a picture (we weren’t speaking at the time – it’s a complicated relationship).

A little over a year ago, my dad said to me, “I’m still prejudice, but I really like Kes. No, really. I’m still prejudice, but I like him.”

But things weren’t always so docile and there was a point when I almost lost my family over this . . . and I’m fairly certain they’re not even aware of it.

After Kes and I had been dating for 2 ½ years, I took a big step. I asked my aunt if I could invite him to our family Christmas party (it’s held at her house). I didn’t tell her he was black. I didn’t think I needed to. I was going to have a talk with my father about it, but Kes wasn’t even sure if he could make it, so I figured I’d wait until we knew for certain if it would even need to be discussed – because prior to this, Kes was only known as my friend.

Well, people talk and my family is no different. They put two and two together and there was a big issue. My father wouldn’t speak to me about it. My boyfriend was uninvited – not because anyone else in my family cared about the color of his skin, but because my father wouldn’t show up if Kes did. I cried for weeks. I didn’t want to go, but I went anyway because I didn’t want to keep my daughter from the rest of my family.

The following year, I was riddled with anxiety. All I could think was, “What am I teaching my daughter if I don’t stand up and say, ‘This is not okay’?” And I came to a decision – a conviction I would not have wavered from. I decided to take my daughter to the family party one last time and a week or two later, I would talk to my family and explain that I would not be going to another one until my boyfriend was welcome.

It was very difficult and emotional for me. It wasn’t that I had come to any new understanding about how discrimination was wrong. It wasn’t that it wasn’t wrong before and it was wrong now. It was that I came to a point where I was prepared to lose some of the people I love because it was more important to me that I stood up for what was right. (Luckily, it never had to go there. Without any discussion or explanation, my boyfriend was invited to the party that year.)

I know, I said this was going to be about Chick-Fil-A, right? So why am I writing about the racial tensions surrounding my relationship? Because I have recently come to the same difficult and emotional place that I did 2 ½ years ago.

On Thursday afternoon, I posted this message on Facebook:

“My heart hurts for those who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, killed, and scorned all because of who they happen to love. My heart hurts even more because there are so many people that are uniformed, misinformed, or just indifferent to all of that. Over the past few days, I have seen things that I really wish I could unsee — sides to people I care about that I didn’t know existed. I’ve been very emotional and it’s been extremely difficult for me to maintain any sense of diplomacy, but I have been trying.

“I’m not usually one for melodramatic exits, but I needed to get that one last thought out there. I think I just need to step away for a little while.”

It wasn’t any major post that brought me to that point – more a straw that broke the camel’s back kind of thing. It was quite simply my daughter’s preschool teacher posting a picture that stated, “I support Chick-Fil-A because I love Jesus.”

Honestly, I didn’t understand why I was so emotional. I didn’t understand why all of this hype was affecting me so deeply. I just knew I needed to step away from it for a bit, so that’s what I did.

I thought about it a lot over the next few days and came to a very clear understanding. After all of my arguments comparing the fight for gay rights to women’s suffrage, to civil rights, to Loving v. Virginia and after all the discussion about tolerance of different opinions and free speech and after all of my unrelenting efforts to remain diplomatic with every blog post, FB status, and article I shared, I developed a conviction stronger than any I had had before.

This is NOT about a difference of opinion. This is NOT about tolerating another’s views. This IS about right and wrong and if you are against gay rights, you are wrong. You’re wrong in the same way that Jim Crow laws were wrong. You’re wrong in the same way that not allowing women to vote was wrong. And I am tired of being “tolerant” of discrimination.

To spell that out a bit more — thinking homosexuality is a sin is an opinion; thinking LGBTs don’t deserve equal rights is not and it is the latter I will not tolerate. And I’m done being diplomatic about it.

Suffragettes did not win the right to vote by being tolerant. The Civil Rights Act did not happen by being tolerant. Loving did not win against Virginia by being tolerant. And we are not going to achieve equality for LGBTs by being tolerant.

This is nothing new to me. It’s not that I had some grand awakening and suddenly believe things differently than I did before. But like the incident with my family, I have come to a point where I am prepared to lose people I care about because standing up for what’s right is more important.

I know most people are tired of hearing about Chick-Fil-A. I know most people are more than ready for all the hype to die down. I’m not. This whole thing has forced a lot of people to show their hands, and I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s a good thing to know where everyone stands on this because I think we may have gotten a bit too comfortable.

There have been a lot of advances lately – more and more states legalizing same-sex marriage, the steady decline of support for DOMA, the end of DADT . . . I think we needed the slap in the face to remind us that there is a still a long, long way to go for equal rights.

And while Chick-Fil-A may not seem like the kind of place to start a grand movement in the fight for equality, I’m sure the same was thought of Woolworth’s 50 years ago.

Photo Credit – Chick-Fil-A

Photo Credit – Suffrage First

Photo Credit – Lunch Counter Protest

Advertisements

31 responses to this post.

  1. the world needs more people like you dayle – people with compassion and balls. 🙂

    Reply

  2. You can love Jesus and NOT support Chickfila….I don’t really make my decisions to eat somewhere based on their view but if I had HAD the money to go to Chickfila on the appreciation day, I still wouldn’t have because I feel like going that day would have been telling the world that I’m completely against gay marriage…and I’m not.
    Love is love, love is blind…love who you want….I want those I love to be happy with whoever they choose…
    I’m honestly confused that I was taught as a child to love everyone but now as an adult, there are suddenly exceptions? I’m sorry but isn’t that kind of contradicting?

    Reply

    • Posted by Karen on August 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      in my opinion people who really love Jesus would never support chick fil A.

      Reply

      • Not the hatred anyways….I agree with what Dayle said about believing gay marriage is a sin being an opinion and if you have that opinion, I respect the right for you to have it…..but yea, if you just HATE people for being gay, I think that’s a sin, too….
        I feel like you should love anyone, you don’t have to agree with everything they choose for their own life but you can still love them, respect them and want happiness for them….i was raised that homosexuality was a sin BUT as I have gotten older, I’ve started to rebel against that belief….I have gay and lesbian friends that are amazing people and I see some of them having love with their partner that is so much ideal than some of my straight friend’s relationships…..if someone is not happy being with the opposite sex, who am I to say they have to be depressed for the rest of their life and think something is wrong with them?
        I know it’s not the same thing but as someone who was picked on all through school for being fat, I KNOW what it’s liked to be bullied and I don’t think ANYONE deserves that for ANY reason whatsoever! It hurts and every kid deserves to be loved and feel accepted….
        Maybe that’s why as an adult, I find it hard to hold on to EVERYTHING I was raised to believe…because it no longer feels RIGHT

        Reply

        • While the focus of this post was gay rights, bullying is bullying and is wrong no matter why it’s done . . . and I do think those of us who have been bullied for one reason or another have an easier time understanding the plight of someone else who is being bullied . . . even if it’s for another reason.

      • I don’t think a lot of people who were supporting Chick-Fil-A in the name of Jesus really understood what it was all about. Someone shouts, “Christians are being persecuted!” and they jump. I swear there are so many people who *want* to be persecuted . . . they *want* to be martyrs . . . so they make shit up to get indignant about.

        Reply

    • “I’m honestly confused that I was taught as a child to love everyone but now as an adult, there are suddenly exceptions? I’m sorry but isn’t that kind of contradicting?”

      It absolutely is contradicting!

      My issue with Chick-Fil-A is not with their views, but with where their money goes. I don’t even want a fraction of a penny from my pocket going to support organizations that demonize homosexuals and spread lies and hate.

      There was a video I watched the other day . . . a girl interviewed a bunch of people waiting in line and asked them why they were there. It was just sad.

      Reply

  3. Dayle. I loved reading this. Two things physically occured with me. It brought on an instant headache and tears to my eyes. I am fighting the urge to cry. Why? Because the whole thing just makes me sad! My sister is gay and married. Her wife is from Germany and they have been together for 10 plus years. She, my sis, is waiting for for the DOMA to go in affect in the United States so Nicola can be considered a US citizen and not have to go back to Germany for months at a time. She misses her so much.
    I still eat at Chik-fil-la and try not to involve myself to much in it all but I feel overwhelmed with sadness by people who are gay that fear coming out, or hate crimes commited towards those who have. And, insane with emotion for all those who were so scared to admit how they felt they saw no other way out and their lives. We have come so far in this day and age with tolerance and acceptance but we still have soooo far to go. Just my 2 cents.

    Reply

    • Thank you, Tina.

      I do hope your sister and her wife be together as they deserve. I fully believe it’s going to happen soon. We just have to keep fighting! ❤

      Reply

  4. Dayle, You are awesome, and I’m glad to know you. I feel the same way – I’m done being tolerant, and I one hundred percent agree that if you are against gay rights you are wrong. Thanks for sharing this post so eloquently and powerfully.

    Reply

  5. Posted by sarah mae on August 7, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Eloquently and Powerfully is right! You have such an INCREDIBLE gift!

    Reply

  6. THANK YOU!
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for some people to accept homosexuality. And it reminds me of how coloured people were treated. Like they were all sick and carried diseases which is bullshit. You can’t help to whom you’re attracted just like you can’t change the colour of your skin.

    How can loving another person be considered a sin?

    Reply

  7. Posted by Karen on August 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    ok if when intolerant “chick fil” becomes the modern symbol for a “christian” we are all doomed, now I will finish reading the post

    Reply

  8. Posted by Karen on August 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Dayle, great post again. I have read it all now. And oh !!!Kes is black!!! …ok as you know I also am having a problem tolerating hate and discrimination against the poor, the ill, those who look different than we do, those who speak differently than we do, those who love anyone they want to. I have frankly discarded friends (not facebook friends but friends from real life) because their intolerant opinions changed them in my eyes and they were no longer people I cared to call friend. Re Chick Fil A in particular, and “christians” I lose that term loosely because in my opinion they aren’t, stand up for an executive and a corporations right to free speech? corps don’t or certainly shouldn’t have free speech. And they should suffer the consequences of their intolerance. next. It occurred to me that modern America was founded by those seeking refuge from religious persecution, and that this modern America was founded with that in mind, thus separation of church and state. Then it occurred to me that the only objection to gay marriage I have heard is that of religious objection ie “it says in the bible, it’s a sin etc etc” I believe in a separation of church and state and think the gays should take that to the supreme court under that issue.

    Reply

    • Thank you, Karen!

      And yeah, I know, shocking isn’t it? 😛 (re: Kes being black)

      It’s not the speech I have a problem with . . . People can stand up and say they’re against whatever they want to say they’re against. I don’t really care (well, I care, but I’m not going to try to stop them). But I will fight back when that speech leads to denying people their rights.

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

      Can’t get much clearer than that!

      “I believe in a separation of church and state and think the gays should take that to the supreme court under that issue.”

      That’s exactly what needs to happen. We need an iconic couple like Loving v. Virginia to take it that far. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but I think we will be soon.

      Reply

  9. I’ve been keeping up with your posts Dayle, but I haven’t had a chance to comment until now. I don’t really know what to say. I am a Christian, and while I don’t agree with a lot of things others do, I support their right to do it. This is a free country and I want to keep it that way.

    Reply

    • First off, Paula . . . It’s good to “see” you! I’ve been meaning to check in and see how you’re doing!

      As to the topic at hand . . . . This *is* a free country which is exactly why it’s wrong to deny people their basic rights. “Free” does not extend that far. Would it be a “freedom” if your employer could fire you because you’re Christian? Because in my state, I can be fired for being bisexual.

      Was it a “freedom” when Woolworth’s wouldn’t let black customers sit at the lunch counter? Was it a “freedom” for a bunch of men to tell women they couldn’t vote? That’s all this is about. People can believe however they want. People can speak out about what they believe no matter what it is. We still have KKK rallies and as deplorable as they are, they’re allowed to have them.

      This isn’t about Christianity. It’s about one group of people denying rights to another group of people. That’s all.

      Giving someone equal rights does not take rights away from someone else.

      Reply

      • Posted by Paula, The Geeky Shopaholic on August 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm

        I understand that this isn’t about Christianity, but it is an important part of who I am so that is why I mentioned it. It always frightens me when talk comes of taking someone’s basic rights away for whatever reason, because I wonder who will be next? Once it starts with one group of people, where will it stop? How far will they go? It is a dangerous and scary thing.

        And it’s good to see you too! 🙂

        Reply

        • I didn’t say that is’ not about Christianity to dismiss that part of you . . . It was more to express that I don’t lump all Christians into that group denying people’s rights.

          I also think I misread your first comment . . . . which I am totally going to blame on lack of sleep!

  10. Lol I thought maybe you had. 🙂 Lack of sleep can do that.

    Reply

  11. Such a great post, and your analogy with the Woolworth counter is so apt and chilling, in a way. To me, this always comes down to basic human rights. And I always find it astonishing that people discourage gay marriage. To me, more people who love each other and want to unite and even raise families can only do GOOD thing for our world. Thank for you writing this post, and I must echo Jared that I am thrilled and honored to know you!

    Reply

  12. Nominated your site for a sunshine Award. I heartily agree with you.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: