As a straight ally, I try to avoid businesses that smack of homophobia. For example, when I go to the mall in my county in which I live, I will not eat at Chic-Fil-A, headquartered in Ga. Its president Dan Cathy came out against gay marriage in 2012. Believe it or not, his condemnation actually helped business, but supposedly someone told him that mixing personal opinion on social issues with corporate policy wasn’t a good idea so Cathy keeps his mouth shut now. I don’t trust the about-face from this deeply religious and conservative man. Instead, I pick Nature’s Table as I’d rather put my money where my mouth is.
I am so happy to be able to shop at a supermarket with wide aisles that has an excellent bakery, and carries everything. (When I lived outside of New York City in a town made famous by Horace Greeley and later Bill Clinton, I would have to shop at three different supermarkets if I were entertaining!). If I have a choice between Winn Dixie (all over Florida) and Publix, I choose Publix which now gives coverage for its health, dental and vision benefit plans to same-sex couples who are married in any state where same-sex marriage is legal, regardless of the associate’s state of residence. However, their generosity was not always the case. Just last year, The Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index gave it a 0 rating and a gay employee in the bakery department was fired, causing an outrage.
Those D*** Bellringers
However, when Publix is invaded by Salvation Army bells ringers aggressively announcing the holiday season, I walk by their red kettles outside Publix, with impunity and don’t contribute a dime. I don’t stop in New York City outside Bloomingdale’s either where the Salvation Army ringers dance to a boom-box or near Rockefeller Center to attract large crowds. Why don’t I like the Salvation Army that supposedly helps the poor and downtrodden? The Salvation Army turns away LGBT folks from its shelters. It used to have a link on its website to refer LGBT individuals to conversion therapy which has been frowned upon and not regarded as effective for converting gay-to-straight. The link has been removed.
Target & Starbuck’s
I love Target, a great all-purpose store. Although it donated in 2010 to anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Target now has a television ad showing two real gay Dads with their son. It also is atypical in that it carries greeting cards for same-sex newlyweds.
Even better, in every Target store, there is gay-friendly Starbuck’s, known for its inclusion and diversity. Starbuck’s flies a gay pride flag on top of its headquarters in Seattle.
So, get to know where your stores stand on equality before you plunk down your hard-earned dollar. You don’t unknowingly want to support anti-gay businesses. Their agenda shouldn’t run counter to yours!
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.