Is Shaking Hands Next?
Finally! LGBTQ+ citizens won an important battle against Chick-fil-A in their war for equal rights! Historically, Chick-fil-A had openly protested equal rights, for LGBTQ+ citizens. Not only did Chick-fil-A refuse to implement equal rights protection within their organization, they continued donating millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ charities. However, 2019 marked a year of social growth, as Chick-fil-A leadership announced the decision to stop donating to these charities, and instead, focus donations on charities who support the homeless, promote education and fight hunger.
This change wasn’t simply a result of new thinking and good will at Chick-fil-A. The change came about after the company lost millions of dollars in sales due to continued public scrutiny. After multiple protests relating to Chick-fil-A’s stance on human rights led to extreme difficulty entering new global markets including Canada and the UK, Chick-fil-A re-evaluated their political stance on LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion. They learned the hard way, when the protesters proved these policies actually promoted division between customers, employees and stakeholders. The company’s objectionable policies actually kept them from achieving their core objective of serving customers equally.
Eliminating support for organizations that do not promote equal rights is an important, positive step forward, but Chick-fil-A still has a lot of work to do to regain public trust. The LGBTQ+ community represents a significant portion of the US population, including 4% who definitely identify as LGBTQ+ and another 11% who are exploring how they wish to be identified. Martin Cooper, the chief executive of the annual LGBTQ+ event, Reading Pride, said “Chick-fil-A’s decision to stop donating to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes had not changed the group’s position. It is only a step, it’s not an action that allows us to fully forgive.” Chick-fil-A must evaluate its stance on equal rights and implement changes within its own walls to promote inclusion and protect their own employees.
It will be years before Chick-fil-A will earn back the trust of the consumers it lost or never had throughout the world. People will want to see progress. The fact is, Chick-fil-A shunned LGBTQ+ citizens for years and must reevaluate its executive leadership. Not much has actually changed since CEO, Dan Cathy, made headlines in 2012 by openly stating his lack of support for the LGBTQ+ community. They didn’t want them as employees or customers, and openly promoted division. Not only did they lost the trust of this community, but they lost the respect of millions of people around the world who may choose to never visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant if given an option to go elsewhere. Recommended actions for Chick-fil-A include: instituting mandatory and updated corporate diversity training to promote respect for generational and cultural differences, as well as respect for various viewpoints. In addition, Chic-fil-A should proactively support world unity days, and possibly start their own foundation promoting something clever and unique, such as the declassification of people as different and classifying us all as one.
Chick-fil-A offers a terrific product that I personally used to enjoy; I enjoyed it a lot less once I found out that they only wanted to hire and serve 85% of the population, while the other 15% needed to keep off of their grass. Their outdated principles are just not right – literally. I’m proud of the protesters and these initial steps, but Chick-fil-A must do more. Years of battling with the public created a negative view of the company and where they didn’t care before, the recommended actions will demonstrate true change as well as increase sales. Chick-fil-A has an opportunity to do the right thing, but even more so, it is their responsibility to act.