Still won’t eat mor chikin

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Have you ever taken a stand for some­thing you be­lieve in? If so, did it last?

I stopped eat­ing at Chick-fil-A right af­ter its so-called Cus­tomer Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Day. For­mer Arkansas gover­nor and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mike Huck­abee was be­hind the ef­fort, urg­ing peo­ple across the coun­try to “af­firm a busi­ness that op­er­ates on Chris­tian prin­ci­ples and whose ex­ec­u­tives are will­ing to take a stand for the Godly val­ues we es­pouse” by show­ing up at the chicken chain on Aug. 1, 2012. This event fol­lowed Chick­fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s pub­lic com­ments that he op­posed same-sex mar­riage.

Lines snaked from the chain’s lo­ca­tions that day, seem­ingly “af­firm­ing” that many cus­tomers of the restau­rant also op­posed same-sex mar­riage and sup­ported other con­ser­va­tive “val­ues” of those be­hind the fast­food chain. That’s when I said no more.

That was five years ago, yet I may be the only per­son left with­out the rem­nants of their chicken sand­wich or shake in my car. Al­most on a con­sis­tent ba­sis at work, Chick-fil-A de­liv­ers food and ev­ery­one takes part but me. Col­leagues who know about my protest still of­fer me a sand­wich, even de­fend­ing the chain on be­ing dif­fer­ent than back then. I re­mind them that if a busi­ness pub­licly cel­e­brated the fact they didn’t have the same le­gal rights as their seem­ingly su­pe­rior cus­tomers, they would never take another bite of the of­fen­sive food. A pass­ing sad smile crosses their face be­fore they par­take in their free lunch, al­most feel­ing sorry for what they must per­ceive as a delu­sion on my part.

It’s not just straight peo­ple. I know plenty of les­bians and gays who still eat at the restau­rant. They joke that the food is just too good to pass up, and I say no food is worth self-ha­tred. Yet again I am left alone, as if I am out of style and life has changed enough to jus­tify my fel­low LGBT con­sumers to re­turn to their old habits.

Of course, there are plenty of com­pa­nies that are not sup­port­ive of our com­mu­nity, and it can be ex­haust­ing to make sure to re­mem­ber them all and not spend money with them. Yet, I am a firm be­liever that you vote with your dol­lar, and if there is a com­pany like Chick-filA with ex­ec­u­tives who bla­tantly let you know how much they do not like you as a hu­man be­ing, can you se­ri­ously con­tinue to do busi­ness with them with­out los­ing your in­tegrity?

Not ev­ery­one has op­posed my views of the com­pany. As a morn­ing show co-host years ago, prior to its Cus­tomer Ap­pre­ci­ate Day, Chick-fil-A wanted to do a pro­mo­tion with us, but sug­gested I be left out of it be­cause of my sex­u­al­ity. My host and co-hosts said we were a team, and if I wasn’t in­cluded, we wouldn’t do it. I have no idea how much money had been turned down for the sta­tion as part of that failed pro­mo­tion, but I was never so proud to stand next to that group of peo­ple. In­tegrity over money.

I will no doubt be of­fered a chicken sand­wich or a spot­ted cow toy at work some­time soon, I am sure, but be­cause I be­lieve in my­self and love who I am, the an­swer will al­ways be, “No, thank you.”

Melissa Carter is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and has been heard over the years on B98.5 and Q100. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @Melis­saCarter.

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