- Posted June 15, 2014 by
LGBT Discrimination During Graduation Party At Local Bar
Prior to the events in question, a group of Triton College students (myself, my boyfriend, and other invitees) were enjoying a few drinks at 7:30 PM, prior to the guest of honor arriving. During said time, we were partaking in our usual social behavior, which consisted of catching up, hugging, and kissing in an innocent and respectful manner. At this point, the only issue seemed to be the amount of smoking that was taking place within the bar. They even have a copious amount of ashtrays at the disposal of their guests. This, of course, is against the Smoke-Free Illinois act. Other than that, the bar staff was serving us with respect while the woman that was presented to me as the bar owner was supervising. Shortly thereafter (8:30 PM), the guest of honor, who was paying for this event, arrived (an hour and a half late to her get-together and after some invitees had already left).
At around 9:00 PM, we were able to eat some of the food that the bar staff had provided, after being purchased by the guest of honor. It had to warm up, as it was sitting in the party room/bar area (at room temperature/the temperature danger zone) for several hours prior to being served. This is a violation of the Department of Public Health’s food sanitation safety standards. Nonetheless, we all ate (hopefully no one got sick) and continued with the festivities. 10:00 PM came around and we gave my phone, with a playlist to a bar staff person. She started playing the music and a couple of us started to dance. I was dancing with my boyfriend and some other friends/invitees were dancing with each other. All seemed well until one of the invitees pointed out to me that the presumed owner of the bar was giving me and my boyfriend dirty looks. I ignored her unwelcome looks of disapproval and continued to dance. Upon the end of a particular song, I proceeded to give my boyfriend a peck on the lips. It was completely innocent, short, and sweet. It was also, nothing unlike what was going on throughout the night between all of us friends. However, at that moment, the presumed bar owner pulled aside the guest of honor, singled out me and my boyfriend, and told her that she had to tell us to stop kissing. I asked the guest of honor why there was a problem. I saw no issue because it was an innocent peck, not some elaborate and explicit public display of affection. Not to mention, pecks on the lips between heterosexual couples and friends were being exchanged throughout the evening.
After receiving this unsolicited message of discrimination, I felt anguished and demeaned as a person. It was a publicly witnessed humiliation for my boyfriend and me. We could not believe that in this day and age, in our city, there is still so much hatred, ignorance, and unashamed disrespect to our community. My boyfriend and I decided to go home for the night, as we were shamed in front of bar patrons, our friends, and other associates. We knew, however, that we needed to ask the presumed bar owner for her contact information so that we can obtain legal council and resolve this matter for us and for our community as a whole.
Upon requesting for her contact information, she became very defensive and quickly forced my boyfriend, the guest of honor, and myself to the furthermost room of the building and tried to explain why she did not want us to kiss. Most of the time, she directed her speech to the guest of honor and tried to change her language from English to Spanish in the hopes that I would not understand. She proceeded to say that it is ok if we are gay but that we should not be kissing in her bar. In the process, she also directly lied to us and stated that no one else was doing it. Mind you, that while all of this is going on, she had a man come into the room with us and she also had two (2) men just outside of the room. It was a very intimidating, and potentially dangerous situation. I was explaining to her how innocent and brief the peck was and how countless other heterosexuals were also doing the same thing, as if she truly did not know. Not to mention, I explained to her our rights to live our lives free of harassment and discrimination. She did not want to hear reason and she continually was refusing to give me her contact information. After requesting the information, well over five (5) times, she conceded and wrote her presumed name and phone number on a piece of paper. By this time, my boyfriend and I were outside of the kitchen and she was inside the kitchen, fetching us the contact information. She hastily passed right by us and headed to the main room/bar area and gave the information to the guest of honor. I later came to find out that the phone number has no service but I digress. She also went on to further humiliate and demean us by talking negatively about us and spreading lies to the guest of honor and her mother, in front of other patrons. It became so uncomfortable that other invitees left the bar, very shortly after my boyfriend and I left.
This mortification and degradation cannot continue to take place at this bar. I am abhorred that they get away with so many different types of violations and I am demanding justice so that no one else has to endure these emotional wounds that my boyfriend and I will carry for the rest of our lives. We are seeking legal counsel and hope to expose this bar for the atrocity that it is. They have no concern for the law, no discernment, and no respect. I hope that you find these outrages as despicable as we did and that you aid us in spreading awareness against this type of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Thank you so much for your time in this most important matter.
EMT-B, CNA, DSP