Teacher gives cost of Chick-fil-A meals to gay suicide prevention charity

Stephen Gray August 6, 2012
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The sister of a co-founder of the Trevor Project has written to the charity, which works to prevent young gay people from taking their lives, donating the cost of a Chick-fil-A meal for each of her gay family members and friends.

Oscar-winner and Trevor Project co-founder James Lecesne’s sister was reacting to the news of ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’, in which thousands flocked to the US fast food chain’s outlets to buy chicken sandwiches in support of the organisation’s donations to anti-gay groups.

Chick-fil-A has been in the headlines since its Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy admitted they were “guilty as charged” on opposition to marriage equality and had donated millions to anti-gay groups.

In the letter, Lorraine Lecesne Whittington, a fifth grade teacher in Iowa, writes that to “live among people who generate fear and make it fearful for others to go about their business is wrong, even if it’s just buying a chicken sandwich.” has been given permission to reproduce the letter in full below:

The recent uproar over Chick-Fil-A has started to hit home for me as friends began to post their support for the company’s right to free speech and thousands show up to buy chicken sandwiches further voicing their opposition to gay rights. As I see photos of people celebrating the so called Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Days, I’m wondering how the nation has become engulfed in a gay rights referendum of sorts that is measured in chicken sandwiches of all things.

It’s just a chicken sandwich. I keep telling myself that. It’s just a chicken sandwich. People like chicken sandwiches. They’re going to get them because they’re good. They’re not mean people who want to harm anyone, right? Well, maybe they’re not mean. At least maybe they don’t mean to be mean, but I don’t think they know how scared I am for people I love in the face of their unbridled enthusiasm for quashing gay-rights, even if it is in the seemingly innocuous form of purchasing more chicken sandwiches.

When my brother was a young man (sorry, I meant to say younger man) he went to bars like I did to find romance and have a bit of fun dancing with friends. The difference was the bars he went to were frequently raided, and customers like him could be jailed. They were lucky if they weren’t senselessly beaten by cops or others in holding tanks simply because they were gay. To be themselves meant to live in fear created of hate, plain and simple.

I often tell a funny story about my brother, except it’s not so funny, really. I was driving him and two other gay guys to a summer stock location. Deep, deep in a rural backwater we needed gas. Problem was it was self-serve. Believe it or not no one in the car knew how to pump gas. (In New Jersey where I grew up it was practically illegal to pump your own gas!) We had this kind of hilarious conversation in the car where no one wanted to pump the gas. None of us wanted to get out and stand around the pump like idiots trying to figure it out. The guys didn’t want anyone to think their lack of knowledge made them look gay in this rural outpost. My brother realizing that we HAD to get gas said, “Oh for crying out loud, I’ll do it. I’m an actor. I can fake it.”

To live in a world where you have to fake your life in order to live with less fear is not right. To live among people who generate fear and make it fearful for others to go about their business is wrong, even if it’s just buying a chicken sandwich.

I know Chick-Fil-A has a right to say what they want with their corporate profits, but I’m sure I won’t be joining any throngs to buy a chicken sandwich from anyone who thinks using those rights to target those I love with fear is a good use of resources. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with my family in such a place, and really no chicken sandwich is that good.

So what to do? I’ve decided that instead of buying a chicken sandwich, I think I’ll make a donation to my favorite LBGT charity, the Trevor Foundation, in the name of the Chick-Fil-A Corporation.

I went online and found out that a Chick-Fil-A classic sandwich on a wheat bun, a side order of waffle fries and a small drink costs $7.35 at the nearest Chick-Fil-A restaurant.

I would like to donate the cost of these for my brother, my nephew and his husband, the two sets of gay parents of students of mine and their kids, my long time lesbian married friends Peggy and Jane and my friends Ron and John whose surprise wedding in Provincetown will always be something I remember.

This totals 17 people, plus one for myself so my donation on behalf of Chick-Fil-A is enclosed here at $132.30.

If you wouldn’t mind sending the corporation an acknowledgement of my donation on their behalf I would be grateful. Their corporate address is […]

Thank you for the work you do to make the world a safe and loving place for young people when they need it most.

Yours truly,

Lorraine Lecesne Whittington

More: Americas, chick-fil-a, gay suicide, suicide, US

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