Tonight, we will probably watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. We have been without power and heat for the past few days because of snow and ice, so I imagine that we will stretch out in the living room, appreciative of a working television, hot food and a warm house.
In the back of my mind, will be the debate about this Olympics. Sochi 2014.
Some say America should boycott these games because of host country Russia’s anti-gay policies. Others say American athletes should compete.
This is not much different than the stay-or-flee dilemmas faced everyday by plain old not-so-athletic gay folks.
There are businesses run by people who do not believe that those in the LGBTQ community are entitled to equal rights. Two that come to mind are Chik-fil-A and Barilla.
Now, this butch lesbian enjoys a chicken sandwich with two pickles (and only two pickles) on a buttered bun with a side of waffle fries and a cup of sweet-tart lemonade. You had me at buttered bun, Chik-fil-A.
Our local Chik-fil-A is always clean and the food is hot and fresh. Bonus, the employees are super polite as if they have been imported from the deep south along with the company’s sweet tea.
“My pleasure.” That’s what a Chik-fil-A worker says if you ask for extra dipping sauce or thank her for bringing you your meal. “My pleasure.” We could all stand to be more polite, just like Chik-fil-A employees. I would love it if my kids used this “my pleasure” response around the house.
Can you take out the trash. My pleasure.
A little help with the groceries. My pleasure.
Anyway, how does Middle Age Butch justify being, well, Middle Age Butch and consuming Chik-fil-A products?
I believe I can effectuate more change eating there than not. In a nutshell, here’s my rationale: I live in a glass closet. For the most part, what you see is what you get. That’s the thing with us butches. We don’t have to come out like some of our brothers and sisters because our appearance gives us away every time. (Ok, there’s that kid in the drive-thru who keeps calling me “sir,” but he’s young and oblivious, and that’s another post.)
When I eat at Chik-fil-A, I’m representing. I’m demonstrating that lesbians aren’t so very scary after all. Even us big bulldykes. Boo!
I’m soft-spoken and well-mannered. I eat my chicken sandwich just like everyone else — with two hands. I might use a coupon if I have one, because I’m trying to save money, too. My kids are just like your kids. See, they’re all on their cellphones, rolling their eyes at their parental units. Geez, kids these days.
While Chik-fil-A is a corporate entity, my local store is made up of everyday people — employees and customers. Every time I eat a chicken sandwich, I have the opportunity to influence people by changing their perceptions. Those chicken sandwiches with the two pickles? That’s a perk of my personal campaign for equal rights.
The bottom line is that I’m not like Chik-fil-A’s mascot cows. “Eat Mor Chikin,” their protest signs read. Besides being bad spellers, these cows are very pushy and rude. I think gentle persuasion is best. Lead by example. Be quiet and strong in your own beliefs. Let other people have their own opinions. People do change but only when they’re ready.
If you’re interested, here’s another post that I wrote about Chik-fil-A: Which comes first? The chicken or the gay?
Barilla is a different matter. There is no Barilla store selling boxes of pasta and sauce. So, yeah, Middle Age Butch no longer buys Barilla products. No more Barilla oven-ready lasagna noodles for this lesbian household. Geez, I loved those.
Back to the Olympics. Sochi 2014.
This butch thinks the United States should show up. Compete with strength and dignity, determination and grace. The world will be watching. American athletes have an opportunity to eradicate stereotypes, to change minds, to give hope to those who need it more than we do.
I don’t know what will happen with respect to gay athletes and this human rights issue that will be the elephant in the room throughout these Olympic Games. But I’m certain it will be another step forward toward equal rights for all. It might be something subtle — a comment by an athlete or a hand gesture reminiscent of the black power salute in Mexico City in 1968. If you blink, you might miss it. But some will see it and it will inspire. It will get people talking. It will open eyes and minds and hearts.
That’s what happens when you show up.
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Thoughts on these Olympic Games? To compete or not? What about in everyday life? Are you a boycotter or do you ride things out?