I am a parent to triplet seventh graders, a stepchild, and a newborn son. I am also a lesbian. This week, two organizations in which my children participate, the Columbia Clippers Swim Team (run by the Columbia Aquatics Association) and the Lime Kiln Middle School PTA in Howard County, Maryland, held fundraisers in partnership with Chick-Fil-A.
As our community knows well, Chick-Fil-A has recently been the butt of a media firestorm for its more than 5 million dollars in contributions to anti-gay groups, including one group that is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of certified hate groups. Collectively, the groups supported by Chick-Fil-A work to dehumanize LGBT people, among other things, labeling them as pedophiles and advocating for their imprisonment.
Why would either of these organizations partner with Chick-Fil-A in the face of this well-documented history? I wrote both organizations and both promptly dismissed my concern as “feeling” and a call to “political activity.” My concern stems not from feelings or politics, but from facts: our children, some of them, have same-sex parents, but more than that, some of them are LGBT. What message do we send to these children when we are so apathetic about our choices that we can’t see our way to choose from the abundant offerings a fundraising site that is supportive of all people and all families? Would the partnership look different if Chick-Fil-A donated to the KKK instead? The actions of both of these groups fly in the face of their own policies of inclusion. And the act of fundraising at such a site is, indeed, a political statement. It’s just not a statement I thought either group would make.
I can’t be the only parent who believes fundraisers at these sorts of venues are an affront to our collective humanity. So, what do we do from here? I’m sure there are many things we can do, but above all else, we must make our voices heard. Loud and clear. Talk to your neighbors, your kids’ friends’ parents, your Parent Boards. But if you say and do nothing, you are part of the problem.
Heather R. McCabe
Mother; Past President, Maryland LGBT Bar Association
- Headlines2021.10.08Priorities for Maryland’s Commission on LGBT Affairs
- Current Issue2021.04.23The Pride Center of Maryland (PCOM) Launches First Billboard Campaign
- Current Issue2021.01.31Mental Health Moment -Mindfulness and You
- Current Issue2021.01.20In Memory of Milton Lentz, February 18, 1941 – January 20, 2010 – More than a Decade Today and Still Learning to Cope