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Video: Gay Parents Bashed: What Would You Do?

Posted on the 14 February 2013 by Kzawadzki @kzawadzki


Posted on February 14, 2013 by 

This was a very interesting piece from ABC’s show, What Would You Do?. It’s very revealing, not just about our society but about our laws, too, on homosexuality – 29 states where it is legal to refuse service to a gay person. (And they’re not all just in the Deep South or rural West, either.)

It’s encouraging that many of the patrons in this video wound up either standing up to the waitress (disclaimer: the waitress and the lesbian parents and their kids were all actors) or, when she tried to rally more to her cause, they flat-out said it didn’t bother them to see a same-sex couple raising a family.

The most touching part came from the letter one patron, who, by the way, used the guidance and teachings of Jesus Christ (yes, Jesus) to stand up to the bigotry, wrote to the same-sex couple:

Hello, Friends:

I know it doesn’t mean much, but I love you all.

You have a beautiful family, and I pray that one person’s judgmental intolerance does not, in any way, put a damper on your hearts or minds.

In the words of MLK Jr., “in the end, we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

- Donovan. 

Soon after, John Quinones, the show’s host, and the camera crew came out and sat down with Donovan, and he had more to say:

I think silence is one of the failures in people today.

That when they see an injustice – an injustice or an intolerance, that they stay silent.

And that’s the worst thing.

By the by, one of the actresses playing the parents is lesbian, and she was very touched by the show of support and Donovan’s heartfelt letter. She was acting but it was, at the same time, real for her.

When the same scenario played out with two men portraying gay parents, instead, the cameras captured similar shows of strong support for the “non-traditional” family and their rights to be treated normally, telling the waitress that the diner is not an appropriate place to put out political stances (and it’s not).

Yet it was also jarring that there was at least one patron who, after the family left due to the harassment, gave the waitress a thumbs-up, high-fived her and said “Good girl!” When Quinones walked out there to talk to this man (who when he saw that this was for a TV show said he didn’t want to be televised, hence the blurred-out/unidentifiable face), he claimed he was just praising the waitress for the good food. Umm, right. Here’s my thing: If you’re going to be a bigot, you better be willing to own it and admit to it, if you feel that strongly. Otherwise, think before you speak, think before you act. And if you don’t want to be called out as a homophobe, don’t act like one. It’s not rocket science.

Other than that, the bulk of this segment is quite encouraging. What really makes this so much more interesting to watch and mull over is that this segment was filmed in a diner in Farmers Branch, Texas, around the Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolitan area.

And it turns some stereotypes even I had on their head when they mention, close to the end of the segment, that the strong opposition to the bigoted waitress was a stark contrast to an experiment conducted the year before in more liberal New York, “and there, out of a hundred bystanders, less than a dozen spoke up.” Compare that to the 24 out of 53 bystanders in the Texas diner. The typically-liberal New Yorkers ought to take some tips from the typically-conservative Texans. And the New Yorkers’ interviews say it all, too: A nonchalant “it’s none of my business.” And “we’re here to eat, that’s it.”

What do you think gay people are there to do? They’re not looking to make political statements, either. They just wanna eat. Live their lives in peace. Like everyone else. But because of homophobes not just in everyday life but in positions of power, gay people are forced into a situation where the mere act of living becomes a political statement and act of defiance. This experiment with the harassing waitress is proof of that. How ridiculous is that?

The problem is that, yeah, you put your head down and keep a low profile but at some point you gotta be able to stand up and do what you can within your means and abilities. Thankfully, this isn’t a matter of life-and-death, necessarily, where if you speak up, you’ll be endangered.

But even during World War II, as the Nazis herded Jews into ghettos and shipped them and so many others off to concentration camps, while there was a great degree of silence, there were also those who realized it was their duty to stand up and save as many as they could.

Then, even Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, who was herself often anti-Semitic, felt it was important to save the lives of as many as she could when she helped found Zegota, theCouncil to Aid Jews, in Poland. The efforts of her and her colleagues saved about 4,000 Polish Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis.

A quote from one of her writings says it all, about the importance of speaking up. It’s quite simple:

He who does not condemn, condones.

When someone’s rights, and not even just rights but simple ability to have a life, are being arbitrarily limited for no other reason than bigotry and ignorance, it’s everyone’s business. It can be bad enough to not speak up… But I know some people actively support discrimination. As if they don’t realize that by actively supporting the oppression of others, they not only perpetuate hate and resentment but open the door for someone else to, in turn, oppress them, as well. What goes around comes around…

Today, February 14, as in any year, is Valentine’s Day.

As we tell our loved ones how much we, well, love them, let’s remember that when it comes down to it, homosexuals have the same capacity, desire, passion and emotion for love as heterosexuals.

Nobody, no matter their race, creed or orientation, has a monopoly on those three small but powerful and most important of words: “I love you.”

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