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7 Jan 2013

A slice of justice for anti-gay heckler

Customers and employees at a pizza truck in Ohio, US defend a gay couple who were told by an anti-gay heckler to cut out the "gay shit" while waiting in line for their food.

The scenario looks right out of a What Would You Do? episode, a popular American hidden camera, ethical dilemma TV series that catches how people react when witnessing acts of social injustice.

Joel Diaz (right) and Ethan

Two men in Columbus, Ohio were holding hands while waiting in a line for pizza when they were told by a man to cut their "gay shit" out.

One of the men Joel Diaz wrote on Huffington Post after sharing the incident that occurred on Dec 30 on Facebook: “After a fun night out in the Short North, my friend Ethan and I ventured down the street to a popular pizza truck called Mikey's Late Night Slice. As a frequent late night visitor to the truck I knew the requisite wait in line is part of the process for securing an insanely good slice of pizza. It was really cold so Ethan and I were holding hands and standing close together to keep warm, we were laughing and joking about all the fun we'd had that night, when all of the sudden the guy in front of us turns around and tells us to cut our "gay shit" out.”

To his surprise, the other patrons in the line spoke out against the abuser.

“Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that.” Diaz, who works as Chief Development Officer at AIDS Resource Center Ohio continued: “I didn't expect to see allies so willing to chime in and let this guy know that his hate speech wouldn't be tolerated.

He added that as the man grew more irate and vocal, the employees of the pizza truck stopped what they were doing and leaned towards the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate, and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him. The man eventually left with a friend.

As his Facebook post went viral, the pizza truck’s Facebook page shared Diaz’s status and weighed in on their staff’s commitment to being good, rational people by “sticking up and doing the right thing. Diaz reminds everyone that they can do their bit: “I think stories like this shared by our LGBT friends and allies are important because it gives people hope and courage. It shows that the arc of the moral universe does bend towards justice and we are not alone in this struggle. I ended my post by saying we must never forget to speak up and make our voices heard no matter where we find ourselves. I firmly believe this is how we will continue to change hearts and minds across this country and in the world but we can't do it alone, we need everyone to take up our mantle for equality and drive it forward.”

Watch the men speak about their experiences here.

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-01-07 19:28  
What a beautiful story. Wish everyone in the world would be able to share that respect toward the LGBT community.
2. 2013-01-07 22:50  
I had a similar experience when, unknown to me, while I was walking hand in hand with my partner, a group of men and women behind had been verbally abusing us, but the first we knew was when a stranger launched into them really telling them off, and then he came and told us why. I will always remember that.
3. 2013-01-07 23:01  
We need to speak out for ourselves too, too often we keep silent when we hear anti-gay comments whether or not they are directed at us.
4. 2013-01-07 23:05  
@Tim, what was the reason the stranger did that? -- if you would like to share.
5. 2013-01-07 23:27  
yeah, a good story, a good lesson. Let's together keep 'chipping away at it', and as they poetically expressed it, the moral arc of the universe will continue to bend toward justice and love.

It's a long way to go from here, but I'd sure love to enjoy an insanely great slice of pizza at THAT pizza truck and hug the general manager (Joe Bush) and employees.

Check out their website and photos...it looks like a fun place to end a great night out.
Comment edited on 2013-01-07 23:41:43
6. 2013-01-07 23:58  
Very good to see. I am happy to see such things happen. I can recall when I was a kid and just coming out such things would never happen. The people on the line would be reinforcing the bashing. How the world has changed in 30 years.

The sad part is that this guy like so many others like him. Felt his own sexuality (which probably is not too secure) threatened.

It is people like this who go on with sad lives and spew hate because they do not have the balls to be who they are. I really think that so many of these haters are just raging, angry closet cases who take joy in making others as miserable as they are. I feel sorry for them, but cannot allow their nasty and untimely behavior to vent. Bravo to the people on line and the Pizza Truck people.. Let's have another slice :)
7. 2013-01-08 01:56  
Well done!
8. 2013-01-08 03:55  
Impressive... Could it be that the peace undercurrent (the one we don't see) is becoming mainstream?
9. 2013-01-08 07:51  
Wundebar ... but what about the hate crimes against LGBT that are still so rampant in the West notwithstanding anti-discrimination laws, etc? What about the rampant bullying of gay teens in US schools that result in an alarming number of gay teen suicides each year? This just seems to be an isolated incident of enlightened comradeship. The fact remains that there still is a lot of violence against LGBT people in the West ... notwithstanding all those civil rights in place.
10. 2013-01-08 10:06  
I know where I'll be going for pizza the next time I'm in Columbus.
11. 2013-01-08 12:50  
I hope the pizza van get's great patronage from our family of GLBT and gay friendly folk from the area.
12. 2013-01-08 13:04  
Nice story! Unfortunately there are still ignorant people out there doing this kind of thing.... Kudos to the people who stood up to that guy....

I think in time... this will fade away.

13. 2013-01-08 13:45  
As a bounce-back, a Brazilian friend to whom I forwarded this story sent me this link to the beautiful story of a Vietnamese photographer, Maika Elan, who toook pictures of gay and lesbian Vietnamese people... I don't think Fridae has featured her.

14. 2013-01-08 13:48  
I teach in high schools and it is getting to be very hard to be a homophobe. You will definitely not be popular with anyone
15. 2013-01-08 15:08  
Thumbs up! How I wish Singaporeans can be like that.
16. 2013-01-08 17:03  
you have right to dislike us,but do respect us
17. 2013-01-08 17:03  
#15 .....and while all you do is wish, nothing will change
18. 2013-01-08 17:53  
"#15 .....and while all you do is wish, nothing will change" *LIKE!!

We all have to find the courage to speak out and not just rant on Facebook or wherever AFTER the fact.
19. 2013-01-09 12:35  
Having grown up in Ohio, it's nice to see that things have progressed since I lived in the Buckeye State. Still, the fact that others spoke up before and rather than the guys being harassed is a bit disheartening. Still, progress is progress and I can't expect everyone to be outspoken against hate. After all, I remember the irrational fear, prejudice and hatred against LGBT of my youth. And, tho reduced, it still exists.
20. 2013-01-12 15:01  
I have also been several verbal abused. Someone was roaring "Chinese poofter“. Unfortunately there were no one to stand up for me. But I will not back down. Several times I have been back to a few nasty words to him,(her orthem)“y‘r a fxxx stupid shit”。。。。 and even rush the man shouted: "Y a piece of do not know how to respect other people's idiot. If you say that again, I use Chinese Kung Fu, crack your ignorant head" (In fact, I don‘t play gongfu). Although this is inappropriate, but it works for some bully. At least let some people know that gay man are not easily to be bullied.
21. 2013-01-15 02:02  
There are other types of bullying too: the press publishing homophobic articles and letters, officials playing along with such homophobic attitudes, making gay people invisible in the media, and keeping unfair and redundant laws on the books for no other purpose than to treat a minority with contempt.

377A is gay bashing of the worst kind. It is a bully's and a blackmailer's charter. It exists only to tell gay citizens they are second class and unequal under the law. In such circumstances we need to not only stand up for ourselves, but also look to other fair-minded people in the legal professions, parliament, official bodies, to be the other people in that line, defending their fellow man from mistreatment by the poorly informed and bigoted.

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