In case it isn’t already obvious to anyone following my new tenure here at Pajiba, I’m pretty fricken’ queer. And it’s pretty great. I also like fried chicken. I like fried chicken so much, you guys. Like I’m at the ‘had serious talks with my doctor about cholesterol level’ of liking fried chicken. That stuff is awesome.
There I was this weekend, feeling pretty stoked about some personal goals I’d accomplished and decided to drive about ten minutes out of my way to reward myself with some of that fancy Nashville Hot Chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken that Jim Gaffigan as Colonel Sanders kept trying to sell me.
So then, imagine how I felt sitting there, a belly full of Nashville Hot Tenders and mashed potatoes, my empty plate and biscuit crumbs still right in front of me, as I opened up Facebook to find the following story being shared across several of my friends’ pages:
I was crushed! What had mere moments before been a delicious reward for some hard work had instead become the remnants of a plate of hate. For those unfamiliar with the story, a woman was hired by a Richmond, VA location of the chicken giant and had been fired less than an hour later when her driver’s license revealed that she was still legally considered male. Her job offer was revoked because the manager informed her that he didn’t “know which bathroom” she would use. First off, that’s not a reason to fire someone, and second, you can probably ask someone if you don’t know the answer to something like that. Like, I don’t know, her?
Because Virginia is an at-will state and because transgender employment protections are pretty scarce nationwide, it felt like it was plausible that this story could have ended there. All of us empty-handed. This poor woman without a job, me without a fried chicken place that I felt could share my personal moral values.
Fried chicken has already been a part of the national conversation on equality for years, stemming back to the now almost hacky to joke about “boycott” of Chick-Fil-A in response to CEO Dan Cathy’s comments regarding his opposition to marriage equality. The boycott mostly focused on comments made by Cathy, which he eventually said he was going to shut up about, rather than really talk about what consumers should actually care about, the fact that profits from money you spend at the restaurant actually might be going towards organizations fighting against equality. Organizations like the Family Research Council, you may have heard of them from their new album, the plan to systematically erase transgender people from the culture, which oddly enough is the reason that a certain manager in Virgina was able to fire off a quip about which bathroom a potential employee needs to use.
For a brief grease and salt-covered moment, it seemed fried chicken was right back in the middle of this conspiracy. Only this time it wasn’t Chick-Fil-A, it was KFC. An extra low blow because not only do they currently employ one of my favorite comics, but back during the Chick-Fil-A boycott, I once bought a whole bucket of KFC to take to a meeting just so I could say “let’s all have some no-hate chicken.” I was very dramatic. Suddenly the Colonel had betrayed me and my people in a heel turn on par with Hulk Hogan’s transformation into Hollywood Hogan. It’s one thing for GMO-laden fast food to clog my arteries into an early grave, but I insist they love the hell out of me and people like me while they do it.
And yet, as the clouds seemed to form, suddenly everything changed. Lo and behold, Kentucky Fried Chicken stood up, wiped some hot sauce from their chin and said, “Not today, friend.” Like so:
@elielcruz KFC will not tolerate discrimination. The franchisee terminated this manager & Ms Carter was offered a job at any Richmond KFC— KFC (@kfc) March 1, 2016
I guess a certain former manager might need to be a bit more concerned about where he’s going to use the bathroom himself from now on.
Score one for no-hate chicken.