Photo Essay

LGBT Community vs. Chick-Fil-A

Cluck Off

Wednesday morning, I'm somewhere near the Hollywood/Vine area looking for a solid brick wall, for a headshot session. I decided to take the bus towards Hollywood/Highland. I was in Highland/Sunset, and I find myself with a protest. This time, members of the LGBT community, PETA, among other protesters, took advantage that during that same day of the Chick-Fil-A customer appreciation, they decided to get a protest going on. A protest for what? Several members of the gay community reacted surprised, when Chick-Fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy, mentioned some comments against gay marriage. This story that I'm about to tell, continues on Friday of that same week.

The LGBT community reacted in a furious/pacific way. Some members decided to simply let the signs speak for themselves. And I simply (as a journalist would do), decided to stay neutral in the matter. Some cars passing around simply honked their horns. More people decided to join the protest, although I expected a bigger crowd. The truth is that, also straight people decided to join the protest. It was an interesting clash of opposite sides: the religious and the non-religious, the singles and the families, the protesters and the customers, the media and the cops. Some people from PETA urged other people to go vegan. Some members simply said, not to support Chick-Fil-A. Some religious groups, invaded the scene with chants, prayers, bible passages and, psalms. One man got everyone's attention by preaching with a bible for 10 minutes. He was mocked and many people laughed from him. A lady touched in him like saying, "please chill out". Because to be sincere, that guy was so into it, he could have died of a heart attack. A family was in the scene and the message in their signs, which is very good one: Hate is not a family value. By the way, the lady with the red hair is not actress Julianne Moore. Joining the scene minutes later, Pat Boone, a singer, expressed with pride to the press (while holding his bag of Chick-Fil-A) that he doesn't support gay marriage. Even some teachers expressed their opinions. Some pedestrians and bystanders, walked through the scene like if nothing was happening.

Cops were called to be on duty, so many protesters didn't cross the line, because the managers and PR people didn't want them on restaurant property. The truth, the lines were crossed when people started insulting each other. One of those situations, was a black lady (which by the way, was enjoying some chicken) and a gay protester was insulting her, because he wouldn't leave her alone. The lady defended herself saying, that Jesus doesn't throw hate on others. The guy answered: "in the 60's it was to the black people, now the cause is for us." The guy grabbed his phone and took a picture of her enjoying her food. She simply ignored him. There was also a very interesting situation, were a punk grabbed a sign of a very annoying protester. The punk got so tired, he removed the sign from the protesters hands. He had his fists ready for a good fight and started screaming violently full of anger at the protester. The customers nearby, started clapping and thanking the punk for his words. Because, as you all know, there are ways of protesting but, with courtesy and without being annoying . LAPD came to the scene, they questioned the punk. 20 minutes later, he was released and no charges were applied. It was a matter of separating both, so that things would cool off. Another officer that was around, ordered everyone to respect to, no matter which side they were supporting. This clash of opinions, simply brought a clash of more insults.

A kind of resistance was created by everyone. Many customers kept on going to the restaurant. And more people decided to join the cause. And more couples decided to kiss or hug, not really convinced about some religious people telling them, that homosexuality is not among the values of God. I also found myself with people that were arguing about other causes, not related whatsoever with the protest. Two guys spent more than one hour arguing amongst each other. Still I can't believe, that between insults, some people simply wouldn't go light on the comments, or ignore each other, or to simply show a little more respect. I believe that insulting, doesn't make a protest any better. I'm happier when each side expose their opinion, but in peace. I was all the time respected. I was offered a glass of water, courtesy from the restaurant by the public relations lady. I refused, but thanked her at the same. I did simply didn't want any criticism or insults against me. I just hoped that everybody could simply express their opinions, without crossing boundaries.

Friday, noon, national same-sex kissing day. The LGBT community decided to take advantage of this day for a kissing demonstration. Same place, same spot. Many journalists and people from the mass media, arrived at the same location. Things in the morning were really slow. Not much was happening. Couple of hours went by. In the later hours of the afternoon, many other members joined the protest. The restaurant had the same amount of customers, it was a hot day as Wednesday. A Canadian-Mexican couple, that came from Canada, with a simple message: Legalize Love. Their bumper sticker has the logo of Obama's political campaign. President Obama announced publicly, that he supports gay marriage.

The media arrived again, and more couples were arriving. A hungry customer takes a glance of what's going on, as he enjoys a sandwich. Reporters were asking for interviews. Many couples agreed to speak and kiss in front of camera. This male couple decided to share an aggressive kiss, in front of the restaurant employees, near an ordering window. Many people cheered. Other found the event, a little out of place. Some others took advantage of the media, to raise their signs of marriage equality and right now. Others simply said the franchise: "Cluck off." And some others simply spread the message of loving one another, whether as a couple or as human beings. As mentioned before, some straight people heavily supported gay marriage. Some others raised a sign to some other straight or religious people, that as homophobes, they would repent. Many other still believe that bigotry ideals or bigot sandwiches are no good. Many claim that they care more for their friends, rather than over a franchise which directs with bad bigotry. That same public relations lady mentioned before, had no comments about the situation. Although I can say, this event gave advertising to gay rights and Chick-Fil-A, for good or bad.

During this event, as I took some shots, I simply took the time to listen what everybody had to say. As to me, I just narrate the events of what happened on these two days. But I don't know how much can I take of people insulting each other. Can that be possible in any forum?

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Hi there!

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http://jpgmag.com/stories/18935

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—The JPG team

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