The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach contacted the office of Councilman Daryl Supernaw multiple times, including meeting with staff, to discuss concerns raised by one of his constituents regarding a Chick-fil-A opening in his district. The councilman was made aware of Chick-fil-A’s longstanding history of hostility, ignorance and bigotry towards the LGBTQ community through these encounters with The Center.
It has come as quite a shock that Councilman Supernaw, rather than disavow a hateful corporation, would instead issue a statement of congratulations to this corporation in his newsletter. Further, he chose to publicize his attendance at their grand opening on Facebook with an image of him eating one of their sandwiches.
The openness with which the councilman has ignored feedback from his constituents and The Center demonstrates a blatant disregard for LGBTQ people. That he would prioritize the grand opening of a business with a longstanding history of discrimination over the concerns of his own community is shameful. His actions reek of homophobia and incitement towards The Center and the LGBTQ community.
His demeanor towards LGBTQ people, through this thinly veiled dog whistle, fuels the very people who regularly threaten LGBTQ people and institutions like our Center every day. I cannot begin to describe the pain we hear from youth kicked out of their homes, elders separated from their partners in care facilities and victims of violent hate crimes in Long Beach who turn to The Center for support.
Through his actions, he has sent a message that he does not care about LGBTQ people, our safety or our value to the community of Long Beach. His actions demonstrate an allegiance to a homophobic corporation over the constituency he is supposed to represent. We are fortunate that the small-mindedness he has demonstrated is not representative of the majority of our elected leadership or our community as a whole.
I hope he will consider these concerns prior to his participation in any future city-wide LGBTQ events. His presence will ring hallow for many.
At a minimum, the community of Long Beach deserves an apology for his disregard for our LGBTQ residents, but ultimately he must engage the LGBTQ community in meaningful action to repair the harm he has attempted to cause.