Earlier this year San Antonio made headlines when District 1 City Councilman Roberto Treviño approved the Food, Beverage and Retail Prime Concession Agreement with Paradies Lagardère at the San Antonio International Airport, but only if the concessions excluded Chick-fil-A.
In a simpler statement, San Antonio’s City Council banned Chick-fil-A from their airport. The City Council backed their decision in a statement saying, “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
I believe this is a tremendous step towards unnormalizing homophobia and truly an act that encompasses what allyship for the LGBTQIA+ community means. Texas State should follow San Antonio’s footsteps and consider what it means to LGBTQIA+ students to have Chick-fil-A on our campus.
ThinkProgress recently released a report which found the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $1.8 million to groups known to display anti-LGBTQ discrimination. To break it down, $1.6 million went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $150,000 went to the Salvation Army and $6,000 went to the Paul Anderson Youth Home.
These organizations have a track record of homophobic behavior and rhetoric. They have openly expressed disdain and disapproval towards the LGBTQIA+ community. The FCA publicly denounces homosexual acts and The Salvation Army has a record of opposing legal protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals. The Paul Anderson Youth Home calls same-sex marriage “rage against Jesus Christ and His values” and has promoted “ex-gay” therapy according to a report from Think Progress.
Texas State is home to a wonderfully diverse student body and has programs such as Allies Training which aims to make Texas State a more inclusive and affirming campus for the LGBTQIA+ community. The training also promotes awareness and understanding of sexual and gender identities. Texas State even recognizes LGBTQIA+ individuals have experienced systematic and personal marginalization, have felt invisible or unsafe and found campus climate openly hostile for the LGBTQIA+ community.
As a queer woman, I can attest to the importance of having a campus that feels welcoming and safe for the LGBTQIA+ Bobcats. However, providing a platform for an openly homophobic food chain to make money—which then has the potential to go to anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations—doesn’t seem to align with the policy of inclusion and acceptance Texas State claims to promote.
While having Chick-fil-A on campus is not a direct threat to LGBTQIA+ Bobcats, I do believe on an institutional level this is a form of support for a company that denounces and rejects the uncontrollable identities of an entire community, one that many Bobcats are a part of.
Texas State’s renovations to the LBJ Student Center, where the campus Chick-fil-A is, include upgrades to the restaurant and an expanded menu. This, again, is clear support from Texas State (or our dining service, Chartwells) for Chick-fil-A, providing them with more business and money with the renovations.
Chick-fil-A is popular amongst college students for its convenience and, frankly, because they like the fast food restaurant’s meals. Removing Chick-fil-A from campus may not sit well with a majority of Bobcats, but I believe denouncing a homophobic company is a better look for Texas State than keeping it on campus and allowing them to rake in money.
Data from the World Health Organization found that nearly one-third of first-year college students have thought about suicide, and non-heterosexual identities and feelings were the biggest risks. Researchers also found sexual minorities have the highest risk of transitioning from suicidal thoughts to plans to attempt.
College is a time of sexual and identity exploration for many students. Because of this, universities need to make sure they are doing as much as they can to support this vulnerable community. Again, having Chick-fil-A on campus is in no way a direct threat to LGBTQIA+ Bobcats, but it does indirectly support their homophobic ideals.
San Antonio took a true step towards progress and inclusivity by barring Chick-fil-A from its airport. The only way to stop the company from continuing to support anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations is for institutions, such as the San Antonio City Council and Texas State, to denounce Chick-fil-A’s homophobic ideals and strip them of their money-making platforms.
– Carissa Liz Castillo is an English senior