Aiyi'nah Ford and her partner Torian Brown got a side order of discrimination during an early morning visit last week to Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, Maryland. The couple tells Washington Blade that after they finished eating and paid, they waited at the counter to give the waitress her tip, and embraced. This simple display of affection and the subsequent reaction from the diner's manager prompted a sit-in protest Wednesday night by Ford & Brown along with dozens of same-sex couples.
From The Washington Blade:
Ford said a manager she identified only by the first name Paul, asked if they could "please take that outside." Ford asked Paul if he was serious, and he said that he was. Ford noted that a heterosexual couple was kissing at a nearby booth.
"He proceeded to say that this was a family establishment and that people are trying to eat, as though our embrace would make someone sick," Ford said.
She said the waitress followed the women outside after she received her tip and apologized, adding that the incident was embarrassing and that similar incidents have happened before.
"That was the icing on the cake," Ford said.
"It stops now"! Disrespect, discrimination, hatred, bigotry, will stop now and it will stop today or else they will not receive the buying power of the 15 million individuals who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or intersex," says a defiant Ford to the media before the scheduled protest.
"And our 744 million dollars worth of buying power will no longer come to Tastee Diner anymore and I will show as much affection as I want and I encourage everyone else to do so tastefully and peacefully".
In an interview with NBC Washington restaurant manager Lisa Wilkes says the couple went further than simple affection and touched each other innapropriately. "The Tastee Diner is a family restaurant, and it doesn't matter if you're straight or if you're gay,' Wilkes said. 'If you start going beyond the point of kissing and things start to get a little X-rated, we're going to ask you to stop.'"
Funny how management didn't ask Brown & Ford to stop but demanded that they leave. The obvious double standard when it comes to public displays of affection between straight and gay couples is preposterous.
Tastee Diner management has since stated that they plan to release the surveillance video that will prove the couple's public affection crossed the line. Let's not hold our breath for that. Kudos to the ladies for standing up to discrimination.
Get into the video of the sit-in protest below:
Update: 8/21/09 Tastee Diner has released the footage of the lesbian couple in an attempt to clear their name and it looks like the attempt may backfire.
Get into the "X-rated" video below: