A woman’s show of support for stray animals has spiraled into a debate about inclusivity.
As local newspaper Florida Today reports, a vegan café in Cocoa, Fla., received backlash after a customer complained that a waitress’s T-shirt — which featured a cat silhouette filled in with a rainbow and the tag line “Stray Pride” — was “gay propaganda.”
The catch: The shirt is actually about animal rights and its genesis is the local SPCA. Furthermore, as some commenters have noted, the rainbow print featured isn’t the same as the rainbow flag associated with LGBTQ pride, which starts with red.
In a Facebook post, management at the Paisley Vegan Kitchen revealed that the shirt upset one customer so much that the person went online and posted a scathing review of the café. The review slams the staff as “heterophobic bigots,” disputes the owner’s explanation about the shirt’s pro-strays message, and urges “my heterosexual vegans to stay away.”
The customer insisted that the shirt said “Gay Pride,” though it actually says “Stray Pride.”
“I didn’t just sit here typing in outrage for nothing,” the person wrote in response to the owner’s explanation. “I saw the rainbow flag, and it said ‘Gay Pride.’ I’m not blind.”
Owner and chef Alyssa Dorer told Florida Today that the review was “homophobic” — and that, while the shirt is indeed about animals, it shouldn’t matter if the waitress was actually celebrating LGBTQ pride.
“We do support everyone here,” Dorer told the paper. “We welcome everyone here. We work really, really hard to make this environment inviting for everyone. We are trying to be kind to animals, and we want it to go across the board to humans and everything else.”
The squabble has resulted in an overwhelming show of support for the café and huge demand for the shirts. Paisley Vegan Kitchen said it planned to donate 10 percent of Monday’s profits to the SPCA.
“I am not a vegan and have never been to your restaurant, but I will be there as soon as I can — in my GAY pride shirt. Or my STRAY pride shirt,” one supporter wrote.
“I’m as conservative as they get, and I couldn’t care less what somebody’s T-shirt reads,” said another comment.
“How can someone be so hateful and be a vegan?” remarked another poster, in regards to the harsh review.
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