Yesterday, I got an email from a concerned citizen about the Welcoming Project banner we have posted on our family’s restaurant website. I get these emails all the time. Most of these correspondence consist of a “stick to what you’re good at and stay out of politics” message. Fair enough–even though equal rights isn’t a political issue–I understand the spirit of the sentiment. As a family, it has been our policy that we ignore the messages when they hit our inbox and just keep the banner up, because we feel as though that’s all the message we need to send as a reply.
However this gentleman’s email expressed in a single line of text that our actions made him feel unwelcome. In light of this ludicrous HB 1597 bill that representative Sally Kern has proposed I decided to write a response, and sleep on it to see how I felt in the morning. This morning, I still felt that silence wasn’t enough this time. So, after conferring with my mom who runs the restaurant, I pressed send. Regardless of how my message is received, I won’t respond to the gentleman in question again. I said all I needed to say in that email, and while my response was an earnest attempt to offer some perspective and appeal to his rational self, there was a bit of saccharine snark that will hopefully get a chuckle and disarm tension. I am aware of the very real probability that it may have the opposite effect.
Here’s the missive so you can weigh in:
Hi, [name redacted]. We’re so glad you reached out to us. The reason such actions are necessary is because of bills like this one:
You see, Section 1 of HB 1597 explicitly states that businesses will be allowed to turn away customers of the LGBT community. We can’t imagine what it must be like to not be welcome in any business where we’re willing to spend our hard earned money. But because of certain attitudes like the ones expressed in the bill indicated above, other people DO know what that type of exclusion feels like; because of HB 1597 there is a very real possibility that, in the near future, business owners will be legally empowered to turn those people away. Such treatment will naturally cause the LGBT community to begin to wonder where they are welcome to spend their dollar. So to clear up any confusion, we need to make it clear that we do not conduct business in this fashion and that “All are Welcome.”
We’re not here to tell people how they should run their business. That’s up to the business owner. However, it seems like bad capitalism to refuse service to anyone because of something that isn’t any of our business to begin with. Unless it’s someone who kicks puppies. Seriously, what kind of monster goes around kicking puppies? But we digress.
We’re sorry if our policy of inclusion makes you feel excluded. It isn’t our intent, and I hope this correspondence puts your concerns at ease. Have a blessed day.
In spite of the saccharine snark (I love that phrase and will now use it as much as possible), the message is genuine. Maybe [name redacted] is unaware of the kind of shenanigans our state legislature gets up to while they waste our tax dollars. Maybe [name redacted] doesn’t know that our actions aren’t some empty social justice gesture, but a real concern that some of our customer base may disappear because of the types of minds that can think HB1597 is a good idea–because silence is as good as complicity. I hope my response brings him some awareness and understanding. I really do hope he has a blessed day moving forward and I hope to keep him as a customer along with our LGBT fans, because we’re a business and we mean it when we say, “all are welcome.”
Unless you kick puppies. Seriously, stay the fuck out of our restaurant, you monsters.