You don’t have to be a publicity guru to know that there has been a Chick-fil-A public relations nightmare going on over the past few weeks.
The events went something like this: Chick-fil-A is outted for their charitable contributions going to groups that advocate against gay rights. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy openly denounces gay marriage. Jim Henson Company severed ties with the fast-food chain. Vice President of Public Relations for Chick-fil-A dies of a heart attack. Anti-Gay supporters line the streets for chicken sandwiches and waffle fries and post their pictures to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote their beliefs.
And I’m left wondering, when were we so quick to forget the person behind the issue, regardless of personal, religious and/or political beliefs on gay marriage?
Until you’ve walked a mile…
So, I tried to put myself into the shoes of the gay young woman on Facebook seeing these posts. If this was a war on women, and hundreds of thousands of individuals across America were eating Chick-fil-A and posting their meals on Facebook in support of male-dominated leadership, I’d be saddened and angry by the opposition. Wouldn’t these people remember me, the girl behind the issue who is trying her best to advance her career, find equality for all women in business, and improve the landscape for young girls to follow?
Which is why I began to wonder about the gay female (or male) who has been heartbroken by the symbolic opposition to their way of life. Some may say that this support of Chick-fil-A is in support of the “biblical definition of marriage”, and I’m not here to argue that one way or the other. What I will say, though, is that perception is a funny thing and works like a landslide in this viral society that we live in.
Take Gabriel Aguiniga, a gay Chick-Fil-A employee that the Huffington Post quoted saying, “[It's] constantly having people come up to you and say, ‘I support your company, because your company hates the gays,’” Aguiniga, 18, wrote in an email. “It really takes a toll on me.” To many homosexual individuals this fast-food affection has morphed into a symbol of Anti-Gay support.
Support for one, Support for all
I’m a firm believer that we have to put out into the world what we expect to see back. Call it karma. Call it The Secret. Call it Voodoo. Whatever you call it, I urge you to put the personal beliefs aside and think of how you’d like to be treated when individuals oppose you, which they will. It’s called life.
Hopefully, you see that the connection between professional advancement and this anti-gay campaign is not as distant as it may seem. There are many people who argue against women in power, which is exactly the paradigm we are seeking to shift as a community of professional, like-minded women. We want people to assess us for who we are, support our dreams and see us rather than just our gender.
So then let us show that same love and support to others, not a lack of it, no matter the issue at hand.