Monday, 21 October 2013

Low level homophobia

I can't believe that I'm still experiencing that low level homophobia that I had in school and University - you know that sniggering, nasty "Oh my God look at the gays" kind of homophobia? Last Saturday Chris and I went to excellent Juno Lounge for breakfast (I highly recommend it, lovely breakfast, and they're super friendly in there. They do good coffee as well!) and Chris wanted to get some wool for his ugly blanket. I taught him how to crochet, and he picked it up so quickly. He started learning squares and wanted to make a blanket, but all he had was random yarn that I had given him, so none of it goes together! He's now on a mission to make the blanket as hideous as possible.
So we went to Shaws the Drapers to get some cheap yarn. I was horrified in there. Two shop assistants goggled at us, then laughed at us, then stared at us as we walked out. I bit my tongue - but after speaking to Chris about it afterwards, I realised I should let Shaws know that I would no longer be shopping at any of their stores. Here is the letter that I sent to them today:

"To whom it may concern,

I wanted to let you know of some poor customer service that I experienced in your Wellfield Road store. My partner and I called in to buy some wool on the morning of Saturday 19 October. We are a gay couple.

I have been shopping at this particular shop for over ten years, and always had a warm welcome. Often the shop assistants are amazed that a young man is buying wool, and ask what I'm knitting or crocheting. I have never felt anything but comfortable and accepted there. This was not the case on Saturday.

One shop assistant stood in front of the counter explaining to the queue of customers that there would be a short delay as one of the tills was not working. My partner said "thank you". He turned to face the counter, but she continued to look at him with a horrible expression on her face, but soon stopped as when she saw me looking at her.

When we left the shop, both shop assistants whispered - something derogatory - and sniggered, staring at us as we left the shop. It made me feel very uncomfortable to say the least. I have experienced homophobia many times, and I'm sure I will continue to experience it, but to be laughed at in such a scathing way in a shop that I have always thought to be a welcoming place upset and disgusted me.

I can only hope that this is not the way all of your employees behave, and I would suggest some diversity training for your staff. A review on Yelp says "I'm always amazed that Shaws the Drapers is still going in the 21st century." Unless your staff are happy to embrace the fact that we are living in the 21st Century, then all the younger people who have taken up knitting and crochet will not go to your shops.

I hope things do change, but sadly I will not see these changes as I will no longer be shopping at Shaws the Drapers. I am sorry that the poor attitude of some of your employees has stopped me from shopping with you in the future, as I have always found your knitting and crochet supplies to be very good value for money - but I do not spend my money in shops that are homophobic.

Yours faithfully
Mr A C Williams"

I'll let you know if I get any reply.

1 comment:

Kittredge Cherry said...

I'm glad you stood up for yourselves -- and for all of us queers.

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