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PrettyQueer.com | February 1, 2015

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Boy Oh Boycott

Boy Oh Boycott
Kelly Riel

I have a great idea. I heard about this fast food restaurant, and well, they are bigots. You see, they donate money to anti-gay organizations, and recently their CEO came out and said that while the company doesn’t discriminate against customers or employees as required by law, they actually are openly anti-gay marriage! I think we should boycott them! It doesn’t matter that we have known for years that this company donates money to these anti-gay organizations and campaigns, now we know for sure that the CEO doesn’t support gay marriage! He openly and candidly expressed that political opinion in public!

And see, for a fast food giant like Chick-Fil-A, being anti-gay marriage is a huge issue. Because fast food companies are totally awesome all the time and don’t treat employees poorly and union bust and pay minimum wage. And it’s fast food, so they don’t price gouge to undercut comparable local businesses, serve feedlot animal products sourced from tortured livestock at polluting and dangerous megafarms, or support chemical-heavy monocrop agriculture that is destroying farmland and ecosystems across the planet. The food that they serve isn’t so heavily processed that we are hard-pressed to call it food or anything like that. We should totally hold them to a political standard of supporting gay marriage. That’s the only thing that matters with fast food, because everything else in that industry is just so morally infallible!

And then when we boycott them for not supporting gay marriage we can document and share and publicize how awesome we are for boycotting them and how bad they are for not supporting gay marriage using technology that is full of rare-earth minerals. We can post messages from our smartphones and laptops that are made by companies who use slave labor – companies that also donate money to anti-gay marriage organizations. And it’s okay that they don’t support gay marriage because we NEED tech products to crusade against fast food companies that don’t support gay marriage, so it balances out. Someday our phones will come from a more just place but right now the tech just isn’t available without some compromises, so we’ll just wait that one out.

And it’s not like there is anything else important going on in the world right now anyway, so let’s make a HUGE deal out our boycott. The largest financial scandal in history isn’t currently unfolding and being essentially ignored by media everywhere. Trans women of color are not being killed or criminalized everyday and Cece McDonald isn’t in prison for defending herself against a white supremacist transphobic attacker. The prison industrial complex in the US is not growing or being privatized, and it certainly isn’t an issue that the United States imprisons more of its population per capita than any other country on earth. HIV isn’t an issue in any of our communities anymore or anything. And, I mean, the United States Government is not systematically robbing women of bodily autonomy and the conversation about women’s bodily freedom is not still framed or considered in ideas of male ownership of women.

Global warming isn’t happening and the media isn’t shaping debate over scientific reality of climate change by presenting a fringe belief as a legitimate point of political discourse and thereby flying in the face of every scientific organization that studies climate and weather. There are no political prisoners in the whole world, nope, nobody unjustly being held by the USA, Russia, China, or any other country. Everyone in the world has enough food and water and resources to live a healthy life. And even everyone in the USA is able to vote – nobody in America is trying to purge poor voters and voters of color from voting rosters using underhanded political maneuvers. And patriarchy? Islamophobia? State Terrorism? Proto-Fascism? Police abuse? – pshh what’s that all even mean! Not in our country or on our planet.

Nope, nothing else bad is going on. Clearly the most important issue right now is whether or not one fast food company supports gay marriage or gives money to anti-gay organizations, and whether or not their CEO is open to talking candidly about that fact. Even if they are not the only company doing it, and even if they are not even doing the most anti-gay stuff of comparably sized corporations.

And since we’ve all always eaten at Chick-Fil-A at least three times a week, every single one of us queers, we are clearly a serious and long-standing customer base for them and a boycott by us will force a response in our favor. We’re totally Chick-Fil-A’s biggest customer demographic! I mean, we’re not talking about an established Christian business that is closed on Sundays and has been “out” as anti-gay for years or anything. I mean, it’s Chick-Fil-A! It’s the only place gay people go to eat! Ever!

So yeah. I think that the boycott is a great plan. Right on, everyone. Let’s do it.

Comments

  1. Cyd

    BRING IT HOME

    I lol’d reading this and then cried myself to sleep

  2. Alyssa McPants

    100% THIS RIGHT HERE, FOREVER.

    I don’t even understand how this was news in the first place. We haven’t known about this for years now OR ANYTHING HURPA DURP DURP.

  3. Brought here via Anna Anthropy tweeting the link and let out the most dark, dry, and sinister chuckle of my entire life.

    This reads like Swift’s “Modest Proposal” — except you do an even better job than Swift of driving the point home. In all sincerity, thank you.

  4. Greg

    I don’t remember how is this logical fallacy called… when you say that because there are bigger issues, you should ignore small ones… it’s wrong.

    About tech companies… Apple has recently checked their supply chain or whatever it’s called. I remember Google paying bigger salary to LGBT employees. And now Google is promoting marriage equality. Amazon CEO and his wife donated to Freedom to Marry (or whatever it’s called) — but from *personal* money — $2.5 million. See, tech is the most LGBT-friendly industry.

    • Kelly Riel

      My concerns with tech run pretty deep. Here is some food for thought.

      Apple recently had the FLA (Fair Labor Association) conduct a review of the three Foxconn factories that produce their products. At all three, violations of Chinese labor law were found. Keep in mind, that Chinese labor law is a really horrible standard for gauging workers rights and well-being. What’s more is that Foxconn has promised to improve things, but the FLA has no enforcement power, so the promise is likely to be completely worthless.
      http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57406850-92/violations-found-at-foxconn-factories/

      Still harping on Apple/Foxconn here, it’s worth noting that SACOM slammed the FLA report for a whole slew of reasons, and it’s likely that the FLA report is a happy and glossed-over picture of what conditions are like for Foxconn employees: http://www.infoworld.com/d/the-industry-standard/apple-foxconn-slammed-sacom-worker-abuse-in-china-194533

      The news that Apple was doing a “transparent inquiry” and the promises to correct any violations found largely shut up the American media on this issue, but it also does not mean the problems are actually being addressed. At all.

      Rare earth minerals (also called rare earth elements or metals) are used to fabricate the essential components of what make products like i-Phones and i-Pads tick. They are used in the production of modern flatscreen TVs and smartphones, hybrid cars, and Apple’s ‘revolutionary’ new screens that everyone was recently talking about. The skyrocketing demand for rare earths thanks to the booming modern tech industry happens to be destroying countless human lives and whole ecosystems in China, where 97% of rare earth production occurs.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/07/china-rare-earth-village-pollution
      I can’t currently find any good information about working conditions in rare earth mines in China, which goes to show how little people seem care about this pretty significant issue. Based on what I do know about Chinese labor and this info about the Chinese coal mining industry, my expectation is that it is really not good. http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-inexorable-slaughter-of-Chinese-miners:-An-overview-2652.html

      And Amazon? Well I think playing up the donation to marriage is a case of ignoring BIG issues for the sake of embracing small ones that are easier to digest. Maybe they are pro-gay marriage, but that’s hardly the same as supporting the queer community. In fact, there are lots queers who oppose gay marriage altogether. http://www.againstequality.org/about/marriage/
      More importantly, though, Amazon’s record on labor and contractors is, well, abysmal.
      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor

      In terms of LGBT rights – even though a company may have a high-score in the HRC Corporate Equality Index, AT&T (who score 100) join Verizon (who only score a 30, btw) in having a contributions rap sheet that tally’s in the hundreds of thousands to tea party caucusing politicians and PAC’s (and let’s be real, the Tea Party isn’t so much a legitimate group as it is a thinly veiled racist and homophobic rallying cry). http://www.fastcompany.com/1726212/tech-and-tea-party-why-verizon-and-att-are-donating-republicans

      What’s more is looking at Verizon’s rapsheet, they contributed $10,000 to John Boehner (http://www.ontheissues.org/OH/John_Boehner_Civil_Rights.htm) and Mitch McConnell (http://www.ontheissues.org/Domestic/Mitch_McConnell_Civil_Rights.htm), which is double their next highest contribution to a federal-level congressional candidate. http://responsibility.verizon.com/assets/docs/VZ_Political_Contributions_2011.pdf.
      I know that these figures are significantly less than Chick-Fil-A’s contributions, but they are not insignificant and they are only two examples I pulled out quickly from a lengthly report. By backing candidates they are in many ways exercising a more powerful influence over US law and culture than Chick-Fil-A’s support of anti-gay NGOs. These are the people who are the mouthpieces of the Tea Party, who are constantly in the media saying fucked up things and who actually have leadership positions in our own government – what’s more is that they’re not just anti-gay, they are blocking legislation that could help actual queer people and promoting legislation that harms us, all while openly admitting that their only goal this congressional term is to stop at nothing to prevent the reelection of a black president, no matter what the cost. And let’s not even mention their records on women’s rights, affirmative action, or labor. Ugh.

      I’m not trying to say that we should all be perfect about what we buy. I think putting that responsibility on consumers is fairly problematic when you do legitimately need to eat and communicate with each other to survive in our culture. But the level of outrage and moral panic about gay rights and fast food disgusts me – it screams to me that a reality check is necessary. Hence the article.

      Fast food should be boycotted, or better yet regulated, out of existence. All of it, at least its current manifestation. This should be done for a whole lot of reasons, the very least of which being whether some rich white asshole who runs their charitable arm is among the number of rich white assholes who think gay people are icky.

    • Alyssa McPants

      Greg — I’m almost nearly 100% sure you’re missing the point, because she doesn’t state anywhere in the article that we should ‘ignore the smaller issues’. Its been common knowledge FOR YEARS that chik fill’a is a christian owned corporation (whose locations are closed on sundays nationwide), and extensively donate to anti-gay causes. this is NOT NEW NEWS ON ANY LEVEL ANY WAY YOU FRAME IT.

      With their CEO coming out and saying flat out what his standpoint is, its basically like “so you know all that bullshit you already knew to be true? well its still true”.

      But instead everythign is BLAAARGHL BLARGH HOOPA DOOPA DOOP LETS MAKE A HUGE STINK ABOUT IT cause you know, all I think about 100% of the time every second of every day is gay marriage. oh totally. for sure dude. there is absolutely ~NOTHING~ else of any pressing nature happening in the world at all more important than normalizing queer relationships in the eyes of the public/state.

      And giving a couple examples about how a few tech companies are either following generic non-discriminatory/AA/EOE practices within their internal infrastructures or giving themselves free advertising by making large blanket statements but covering any shady goings on is a pretty piss poor example of “tech is the most LGBT-friendly industry”. I mean, using ANY super-massive world spanning corporation as a guage for the compass of tolerance is a really terrible idea, anyway.

      From an entirely personal/anecdotal standpoint, I can name about 30 people off the top of my head whom I am IRL friends with who work for either the Pentagon, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Mozilla, The NTT data center in VA (through which about 70% of the east coast’s internet routes through), etc, all of whom are trans or queer and generally love their jobs. But using them as an example for “the tech industry is super LGBT friendly!!1one!” is super fucked up because we’re only talking about people who work state-side in administrative or programming/sys admin/office/clerical positions and -NOT- about any of the outsourcing, labor practices within manufacturing facilities, or what their internal lobbying practices may or may not be.

      I used to live with a trans lady who worked for one of Amazon’s web dev dept’s as a Sys admin. Everyday when she came home I got to hear about how fucked their (amazon’s) entire internal processing and corporate infrastructure is, how they cut corners on production value, have 1 person doing the job fo 6 people, and how they outsource 90% of their IT labor force to India or China because they don’t need to pay them nearly as much as US programmers, who largely exist in an administrative capacity working alongside foreign employs cleaning up code or running damage control when shit falls apart. And she talked about how she constantly works her ass off to show her bosses they shouldn’t fire her because she’s terrified of her job being outsourced, not to mention being the only woman, trans or not, in her entire division, and dealing with all the shit she gets from that.

      BUT THAT’S JUST AMAZON, SILLY! APPLE AND GOOGLE ARE STILL PRO GAY MARRIAGE OR SOMETHING WHO CARES ABOUT ANY OF THAT OTHER DUMB SHIT. Ok. Sure.

      You might as well be sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting “Cool story bro!”.

      • Evan

        Nobody is saying that shit isn’t fucked up. If all Chick-Fil-A did was think us big scary queers shouldn’t get married, I wouldn’t give two shits. But they use their money to fund policies and organizations that literally doing everything they can to kill and torture us. Chick Fil A donated to organizations that lobbied Congress /not/ to condemn the Ugandan law that would have legalized the murder of gay people– and I’m not saying that the U.S. flexing its imperial claws in the business of Ugandans is great– but the fact of the matter remains that Chick-Fil-A profits are going toward our murders. That’s in addition to the fact that Chick-Fil-A has funded “pray the gay away” or “ex-gay” organizations. THAT is why I’m fucking enraged about them. And why is it such a huge deal over when we get mad? I would have loved if somebody called Chick Fil A on this before it ever got this far, but I’d rather we called them on it now than never. Does it only count if we do it right when it starts and not later?

        You’re right. There is shitty policy all over the corporate world and out money is being spent on hurting people every day. That doesn’t mean we can’t be angry about this. I’d love to see us getting fucking pissed and make some noise about other, far worse organizations. But I’m not going to turn down trying to put a stop to Chick Fil A either.

      • Sophie Duke

        Alyssa McPants: Love your response to Greg. Brilliant!
        Also to Kelly, the writer of the original piece, kudos! Love the carefully crafted, blow-them-out-of-the-water sarcasm. I laughed hysterically. I always figured we just gave free publicity to chick a fil. Yours is not an argument to not take up smaller, perhaps more personal issues (like the lack of parking for the disabled at my grocery store for example), but rather an argument to ignore the issues that do not advance the struggle for justice. So yeah, a boycott of chick a fil backfires stupidly because who the fuck eats there anyway! Easy for me to boycott, I’m a vegetarian. LMFAO

    • Kelly Riel

      I made this comment a while ago, but the number of links seems to have landed it in the span cue indefinitely. Happens. Here it is with the URLS broken up so I can still cite my sources without getting modded out of the thread:

      My concerns with tech run pretty deep. Here is some food for thought.

      Apple recently had the FLA (Fair Labor Association) conduct a review of the three Foxconn factories that produce their products. At all three, violations of Chinese labor law were found. Keep in mind, that Chinese labor law is a really horrible standard for gauging workers rights and well-being. What’s more is that Foxconn has promised to improve things, but the FLA has no enforcement power, so the promise is likely to be completely worthless.
      http: //news.cnet. com/8301-1001_3-57406850-92/violations-found-at-foxconn-factories/

      Still harping on Apple/Foxconn here, it’s worth noting that SACOM slammed the FLA report for a whole slew of reasons, and it’s likely that the FLA report is a happy and glossed-over picture of what conditions are like for Foxconn employees: htt p://www.i nfoworld. com/d/the-industr y-standard/apple-foxconn-slammed-sacom-worke r-abuse-in-china-194533

      The news that Apple was doing a “transparent inquiry” and the promises to correct any violations found largely shut up the American media on this issue, but it also does not mean the problems are actually being addressed. At all.

      Rare earth minerals (also called rare earth elements or metals) are used to fabricate the essential components of what make products like i-Phones and i-Pads tick. They are used in the production of modern flatscreen TVs and smartphones, hybrid cars, and Apple’s ‘revolutionary’ new screens that everyone was recently talking about. The skyrocketing demand for rare earths thanks to the booming modern tech industry happens to be destroying countless human lives and whole ecosystems in China, where 97% of rare earth production occurs.
      h ttp:// www .guardian.co.uk/env ironment/2012/aug/07/china -rare-earth-village-pollution
      I can’t currently find any good information about working conditions in rare earth mines in China, which goes to show how little people seem care about this pretty significant issue. Based on what I do know about Chinese labor and this info about the Chinese coal mining industry, my expectation is that it is really not good. http ://ww w.asianews.it/n ews-en/The-inexorable-slaughter-of-Chi nese-miners:-An-overview- 2652. html

      And Amazon? Well I think playing up the donation to marriage is a case of ignoring BIG issues for the sake of embracing small ones that are easier to digest. Maybe they are pro-gay marriage, but that’s hardly the same as supporting the queer community. In fact, there are lots queers who oppose gay marriage altogether. http ://w ww.again stequality. org/ab out/marriage/
      More importantly, though, Amazon’s record on labor and contractors is, well, abysmal.
      http ://ww w. motherjones.c om/politics/20 12/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online- shipping-warehouses-labor

      In terms of LGBT rights – even though a company may have a high-score in the HRC Corporate Equality Index, AT&T (who score 100) join Verizon (who only score a 30, btw) in having a contributions rap sheet that tally’s in the hundreds of thousands to tea party caucusing politicians and PAC’s (and let’s be real, the Tea Party isn’t so much a legitimate group as it is a thinly veiled racist and homophobic rallying cry). http ://ww w.fastc ompany .com/1726212/tech-and-tea -party-why-verizon-and-att-are-donating-republicans

      What’s more is looking at Verizon’s rapsheet, they contributed $10,000 to John Boehner (http ://ww w.ontheissues.org/OH/ John_Boehner_Civil_Rights.htm) and Mitch McConnell (htt p://ww w.ontheissues .org/Domestic/Mitc h_McConnell_Civil_Rights.htm), which is double their next highest contribution to a federal-level congressional candidate. http ://responsibility.verizon. com/assets/doc s/VZ_Political_Contributions_2011. pdf.
      I know that these figures are significantly less than Chick-Fil-A’s contributions, but they are not insignificant and they are only two examples I pulled out quickly from a lengthly report. By backing candidates they are in many ways exercising a more powerful influence over US law and culture than Chick-Fil-A’s support of anti-gay NGOs. These are the people who are the mouthpieces of the Tea Party, who are constantly in the media saying fucked up things and who actually have leadership positions in our own government – what’s more is that they’re not just anti-gay, they are blocking legislation that could help actual queer people and promoting legislation that harms us, all while openly admitting that their only goal this congressional term is to stop at nothing to prevent the reelection of a black president, no matter what the cost. And let’s not even mention their records on women’s rights, affirmative action, or labor. Ugh.

      I’m not trying to say that we should all be perfect about what we buy. I think putting that responsibility on consumers is fairly problematic when you do legitimately need to eat and communicate with each other to survive in our culture. But the level of outrage and moral panic about gay rights and fast food disgusts me – it screams to me that a reality check is necessary. Hence the article.

      Fast food should be boycotted, or better yet regulated, out of existence. All of it, at least its current manifestation. This should be done for a whole lot of reasons, the very least of which being whether some rich white asshole who runs their charitable arm is among the number of rich white assholes who think gay people are icky.

  5. Greg — big difference between ignoring smaller issues and putting smaller issues into perspective.

    Let me give it to you this way. I was brought up Christian, still am (by some definitions) … I identify myself as religious, anyway.

    A sociology professor once pointed out to me that within the Bible (OT + NT) there are exactly *three* verses that may or may not condemn homosexuality (and it really doesn’t even know what to do with the “T” in LGBT). There are over a thousand that specifically instruct care for the poor, for widows and orphans.

    And yet, what is perennially the hot topic among the conservative evangelical movement, the very one that Chick-Fil-A’s CEO (and so many of its employees) are part of? Interesting how THEY get it out of proportion.

    Similarly, just by examining twitter feeds and trends over the last month, I (and likely, *we) have heard twentyfold more about Chick-Fil-A and their CEO — things I could’ve told you just by reading BASIC LITERATURE about the company — than I have about the larger social issues that Kelly here listed in the last **two years.**

    Perspective, deary, perspective. Kelly didn’t say “ignore the issue.” But she sure as hell put things in perspective. There are plenty more reasons to dislike Chick-Fil-A and others among them, regardless of their understanding (or ignorance) regarding LGBTQ community.

  6. Ren Galskap

    Chic-Fil-A closes on Sundays for religious reasons, so the company’s executives and owners are already voluntarily suffering a significant reduction in business in order to support their religious beliefs. A boycott that doesn’t bankrupt the company isn’t likely to have much effect. In fact, a boycott will probably give the founder greater credibility among fundamentalists, which will most likely reinforce the behavior that the boycotters are objecting to. (A quick google indicates that Huckabee’s Chic-Fil-A Appreciation Day was successful enough to compensate for any lost business caused by the boycott. So not only has the boycott boosted Dan Cathy’s fundamentalist cred, it’s also made him slightly richer.)

    In addition to this, gay marriage is being pursued by organizations that court the T part of LGBT by promising support for the issues that matter to the T part while refusing to expend the resources necessary to create the promised support. This has left a lot of people in the confusing position of supporting marriage rights while feeling betrayed by the people who are organizing to make those rights a reality. With this in mind, it was helpful of the boycott organizers to organize a boycott so pointless that everyone can ignore it without feeling conflicted.

  7. GAY marriage is the greatest cause to ever be taken up by the Gl(b)….t community!

    That said, targetted boycotts can sometimes work and if middle america is dismayed by blatant homophobia, then good for them. They seem to think that giving millions of dollars to a hate organisation is “freedom of speech” however, so I’ve got low hopes.

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