A gay employee, writing anonymously over fears she’d be fired for speaking out, says she hopes her customers don’t choke on their nuggets—but one day will swallow their words.
So when people boycott Chick-fil-A, it means I don't get hours. Which means I don’t get money. Not just me, but ALL of the LGBT employees at Chick-fil-A. Yes, CFA hires LGBT people. No one’s been fired for being gay or coming out. It’s a job. A job that can’t be taken for granted when work is scarce across the country. We have to eat too. So sure, boycott Chick-fil-A because you don’t agree with the CEO. Will you change his mind? No. Will it change the amount of money my LGBT peers and I can earn? Probably. Boycotting Chick-fil-A doesn’t hurt the company. It hurts the employees. And it’s hard enough working for a place that doesn’t think you should get married. But it’s work. Don’t take it away because you feel righteous.
That’s what I said four days ago. I meant it then. After today, though, I take it all back.
After all, I’m still a closeted gay woman working at a Chick-fil-A in the southern United States. And things these days, well, they’re complicated.
When Monday was dead, I was harboring hope that it was because so many people were boycotting Chick-fil-A. Apparently I was suffering from delusions, or temporarily forgot I live in the Bible Belt. Sunday, all the ministers at the evangelical churches in town told their congregations to show support to Chick-fil-A by eating there. The day? Today, Wednesday, August 1, 2012.
We were so busy we nearly ran out of food. We did run out of some things, like nuggets, strips, lemonade, and waffle fries. Though we didn’t have to close early like we feared, by 10 p.m., we barely had anything left. Never before have I been so grateful that I have tomorrow off.
Customers sang “God Bless America” in the dining room. They vocalized their support for “family values” in a way that made me want to vomit. We had two protestors outside, and I took five minutes to run out, hug them, and tell them: if I weren’t working here now, I’d be out here with you.
They said, “It’s okay, we know what it’s like to have to work for a paycheck.” Hearing that was ten times better than hearing from my acquaintances on the other side of the coin: “How do you work there and still sleep at night, knowing their stance against equal rights?” I sleep with a roof over my head, which is about all I can ask.
I can’t tell you much more about the customers today, because of my limited contact with them. I work in the kitchen, so I don’t see much of the clientele. What made today so difficult—more difficult than always being behind on food, running out of one thing or another, needing to be in two places at once, etc—was the attitudes of the other employees.
No one really stopped talking about the reasons why today was as busy as it was. The people I work alongside kept going on and on about how powerful it was to be part of such a righteous movement, and how encouraged they were to know that there were so many people who agree with Dan Cathy. They went on at great length about how it was wrong not just for gays to marry, but to exist. One kid, age 19, said “I hope the gays go hungry.”
I nearly walked out then and there. That epitomizes the characteristics of these evangelical “Christians” who are so vocally opposed to equal rights. Attitudes like that are the opposite of Christ-like.