So Chick-fil-A has been in the news lately about their continuation of support for anti-LGBTQ groups. They have continued to make large donations to organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Paul Anderson Youth Home. The anti-LGBTQ position of the infamous chicken restaurant originally came to public knowledge when almost five years ago an article was posted about Dan Cathy, the CEO and Chairman and being up front about the company’s position on being against same-sex marriage.
I do admit I have tried the delicious chicken. However, I have made it a stance that I do not eat there as my own personal activism in taking a stance against the anti-LGBTQ company. I do not give my money or support to Hobby Lobby and The Salvation Army for the same reason.
This is how I take a stance for my identity.
I don’t expect everyone to stop eating at Chick-fil-A (I mean they do serve some dang good chicken) or shopping at Hobby Lobby or even donating to The Salvation Army.
I don’t think less of anyone who patron these businesses.
I don’t think the individuals who patron these establishment are anti-LGBTQ.
You don’t have to apologize or explain why you patron them. Your journey, experiences and reasons are your own.
Just because you find Chick-fil-A delicious and irresistible doesn’t make you a bad ally. At least not to me.
Now, with all this talk about companies that are anti-LGBTQ, what really gets me is when others who take similar stances as myself, make individuals feel guilty for patronizing these businesses or for supporting them.
We each have our journey in life. I have no right to tell you how to live your life just lke you don’t have a right to tell me. I can tell you what I expect of an ally, I can’t shame you or tell you what to do (it’s like Student Affairs 101).
I feel that we try to make allyship an either-or, black or white issue, when I think it is just as complex and layered as an individual’s intersectionality.
For me it’s all about sharing experiences. I share my reasons and my story with others for things such as not patronizing certain businesses and let them decide if that is how they wish and are able to example allyship or if they need to support me and the community in other ways.
To me this is part of social justice work. It’s dirty, hard, messy, impossible and needed. But I think to a point we all ultimately struggle with listening and hearing and ultimately accepting one another’s perspectives, life experiences and the way we each express ourselves, support, allyship, etc.
Now, I’ve fallen into this habit of dismissing or not truly hearing others experiences many times. Especially lately. One gets so wrapped up in trying to educate and inform or even defend your identity that one can forget to listen to understand. And it goes both way, the other person forget to listen and hear as well.
Nothing is perfect nor 100% right when it comes to social justice work. Every individual has privilege and oppression. But we have to listen and hear each other’s stories and experiences in order to grow and progress.
This is just what has been on my mind as I’ve been reading some news articles and current threads as the famous chicken and popular craft store hits the news cycle again.
Until next time
Peace, Love and Pandas!