Man, business must be slow down at Gay Radicalism headquarters. Witness the following story from scenic Middletown, Ct., home to the infamously left-wing Wesleyan University:
Queer Liberation Front recently received the following message [read below the cut] from the mother of a gay 18-year-old in Middletown, CT. In late December, her son was physically and verbally assaulted at a local coffeeshop by the owner and kicked out of the establishment. He’s not completely out of the closet and wishes to remain anonymous, so their names have been omitted from the letter she sent us.
We’re doing a direct action on Sunday January 30th @ 12PM where a group of at least 20 queers and allies will go into Javapalooza with rainbow flags, queer shirts, etc and all immediately buy coffee. We’d proceed to have a “teach-in”, a kind of ”know your rights” discussion, and at the end present the owner with a letter signed by all of us, demanding a public apology and a show of good will towards the queer/LGBT community.
As for the behavior they’re protesting, the mother’s explanation is below (the son’s name was precensored, but for the sake of taste, I’ve also removed the by-name references to the owner, as well as the profanity):
This is when the owner yelled over to them from behind the counter, because he knew ****’s friend. He said “doesn’t your friend know about our policy?” The kids thought that he was joking. He then told **** that he couldn’t have a Dunkin Donuts’ drink in his establishment and that he would have to either put it in another cup or throw it away. So, **** finished the last sip, threw it away and sat back down at the table.
This is when the owner came out from behind the counter and walked over to the table. **** and his two friends were in shock because they thought that he was joking. The owner then grabbed **** by the shirt and said something similar to “don’t you listen” or “are you some kind of wise a**” and told him to get out. **** grabbed his coat that was next to him and proceeded to leave, all while the owner, who was following him out, was calling him a d***-sucking faggot.
****’s friends followed and this continued outside. He called him a faggot more times and I know that at one point, **** told him to “take his f***ing hands off of him”. When they got to the sidewalk outside, they were exchanging words, and ****’s friends were in between them, telling **** to walk away.
There is also this admission from the QLF further down:
We do not know for sure either way if the owner knew that the victim was gay-identified. We are told by the family that the friends he was with frequent the coffee shop often. The mother suspects that since the owner knew his friends and probably knew that they were queer, her son was also considered gay because of who he was associating with.
Regardless of whether or not the owner knew any of them were gay, those were the words he chose while making a violent and unprovoked assault on someone. It should not matter the victim’s sexual orientation, everyone deserves the right to safe space.
If the owner did not know the victim was gay, that does not excuse the alleged behavior, but this admission is significant nonetheless. The epithet “faggot” is fairly common in Middletown, and is often used as a generic insult, rather than as a tool to harass known homosexuals. (During one visit to Middletown, I had a similar epithet screamed at me by an unknown driver.)
So far, the QLF has behaved in a surprisingly enlightened fashion for a radical interest group — namely, they’ve declared their intention to help victims who don’t necessarily fall within their group. Politically correct, sure, but at least there’s no tribalism involved. Ah, but wait! Should we maybe acknowledge that the angry mother of the aggrieved party isn’t the most unbiased source, or that it’s unfair to keep the alleged victim anonymous while naming the alleged perpetrator? Not a chance:
The reason why the victim’s name has been kept anonymous is because he has personally requested that we do so. He lives in a small town and is not completely out of the closet yet. Since we do not believe in “outing” people against their will (except, perhaps, in very extreme circumstances — say, if they were conducting violent behavior or rhetoric towards queer people) then we will not disclose his identity. Since he has already been attacked in the past month or so for being gay we do not wish to bring any more unwanted harassment into his life. He is in a very different position than the owner/attacker in this case.
As for the owner, speaking truth to power is not an assault on character. If [the owner] was not okay with people knowing about his actions, then he should not have engaged in that behavior in a public space in the first place. Also, we don’t think it’s fair to equate a teach-in with a violent action. The two are incomparable. Our tactics are peaceful and open-minded, whereas [the owner’s] actions were loaded with hate and irrationality.
Um . . . yeah. Because public shaming totally isn’t an assault on a person’s character. Because the owner of a coffee shop is clearly someone with a lot of “power.” Not to mention, this post was in reply to someone wondering if they can properly publish the owner’s name before being sure he’s guilty. Their response is, “He chose to do these horrid things he’s accused of and that we haven’t proven.” Begging the question, much?