Even though we seldom talk about it, LGBTers are used to the abrasion of the casual hatred. The blowhard in accounting tells a sub Tosh.0 lesbian joke. A cousin makes a careless comment about a “tranny.” Frat boys in F250 yell “fag” out the window. It chips away, but there is little we can do. Our skin thickens like elephant hide.
But sometimes it’s nice to know that in strangers, there are also potential allies. In today’s Huffington Post, Columbus resident Joel Diaz tells the kind of story that redeems faith in humanity, especially in light of Austin’s own pizza problems.
As a frequent late night visitor to the truck I knew the requisite wait in line is part of the process for securing an insanely good slice of pizza. It was really cold so Ethan and I were holding hands and standing close together to keep warm, we were laughing and joking about all the fun we'd had that night, when all of the sudden the guy in front of us turns around and tells us to cut our "gay shit" out.
I was a bit startled by his words but I didn't expect what happened next. Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that. By happenstance my friend John, who is also gay, was standing in front of him and as he continued his rant about being disgusted by us we both let him know that this was our city too and that we were not about to stand down to his bigoted ideas, especially not in one of the gayest neighborhoods in town. As he continued it was actually the straight people in line who spoke up that were so awesome.
I didn't expect to see allies so willing to chime in and let this guy know that his hate speech wouldn't be tolerated. The best part though was as he grew more irate and vocal the guys who work the truck stopped what they were doing and leaned towards the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate. They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him.
Squeeing yet? Mikey’s added to the warm fuzzies in the most gracious of Facebook posts.
Thank you, Joel Diaz, for sharing the account of your experience at our truck this past weekend. We can’t tell you how proud we are of our truck workers that night for speaking up and doing the right thing. We are also immensely grateful for the kind words and support for us that has emerged since the post first went up.We are humbled by the attention that this whole thing has gotten us. But we feel that the greatest recognition belongs to our neighborhood as a whole, here in the Short North. By accounts, there was no shortage of locals willing to speak up and intervene when the incident occurred. It is so wonderfully comforting to know that the hearts of our neighbors are filled with kindness and tolerance.
Thank you again, Joel, for sharing. And also to our fellow Short North denizens for standing beside your neighbors and speaking up for what’s right.
For the reminder that speaking out can make someone's day, we can think of no one more crushable than those fine folks waiting in line and the equally fine staff Mikey's Late Night Slice. I wonder how much it would cost to deliver to Austin.
Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.