I’m a little late to the anti-gay bashing party on Chick-Fil-A. It could be in part because I have been sitting back in horror and disgust. It could also be that living in New York City, I don’t see their chain setting up shop anywhere in the five boroughs; not even the Bronx.
Listen, here’s the thing from my brain to your eyes: This is an icy cool reminder that in a huge part of the country (basically anything that isn’t a coast, or Chicago, or somewhere within a 12-hour drive to Toronto), gays are still hated. We’re still yelled at, we’re still called names, we’re still chastised, and people still, despite education and research, think we can make a choice to be something other than who and what we are. Sure, it’s gross. And to add insult to injury, these haters make many a buck peddling chicken. Or is it just easy access to chicken? I don’t know. Regardless, driving by a Chick-Fil-A location last week just south of the Mason/Dixon, I saw cars in the drive-up and my stomach totally turned.
Now, I ate at Chick-Fil-A once when I was in college. We had a location at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, New Hampshire just a few miles from my school. And when a Saturday afternoon of buying denim to make my ass look good (like I need denim for THAT) and a few Christmas presents left me famished, I grabbed a basket of chicken fingers and waffle fries with a sweet tea. I was 22, and I didn’t realize how bigoted they were, or that they were closed the next day as a high-five to Jesus, or that in just seven years I would grow to hate them. All I knew was that I had to walk over to Arby’s to ask for honey to dip my chicken fingers in, and that kind of pissed me off.
It’s painfully clear to me that a childhood of watching Designing Women misinformed me of what the south is like. That liberal terminator Julia Sugarbaker would not stand for a nationwide fast food chain outwardly hating on roughly 10% of the American population. I had this idea that the south was full of brassy, big-shouldered people who defended the everyman. I mean, OK, sure…the Civil Rights Movement. But, that aside, I also remember Senator Huey Long using his kingfish power to strongarm the government into helping the disenfranchised. This was all what painted my idea of the south being full of advocates