Activism | Discrimination | Maryland | News

Lesbian Couple Organizes Sit-In After Expulsion from Maryland Diner


Aiyi-nah Ford and Torian Brown, a lesbian couple, were asked to leave Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, Maryland earlier this month after holding each other. The eviction prompted Ford to organize a sit-in protest at the restaurant on Wednesday, NBC Washington reports:

Tastee "The restaurant's manager, Lisa Wilkes, whose family owns the well-known eatery, countered that the couple went further than innocent cuddling. They were touching each other inappropriately, she said. 'The Tastee Diner is a family restaurant, and it doesn't matter if you're straight or if you're gay,' Wilkes said. 'If you start going beyond the point of kissing and things start to get a little X-rated, we're going to ask you to stop.'"

NBC Washington's report on the incident and protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

View more news videos at:

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Wow - I'm really shocked by this one. I eat there nearly every Saturday morning with friends and with my boyfriend. I've never been treated with anything but respect by the staff. In fact, they ask how he's doing since he's been out of the country and gave him hugs the last time he visited. We aren't big on displays of affection, though, and I've never noticed anyone being overly show-y there. I'm going to have to ask some questions on my next visit.

    Posted by: Paul | Aug 20, 2009 12:39:34 PM

  2. I think it's gross when anyone's even kissing in a restaurant, but that's beside the point. The manager says she would allow kissing, but things were going "further." If they really were, then I don't think we can fault her.

    Posted by: Billy | Aug 20, 2009 12:45:20 PM

  3. That's absolutely rediculous. Ladies, if you're ever in Baltimore, come to Mr. Yogato, you can get yourself some healthy yogurt and snuggle all you want. We had a cute lesbian couple in here the other day and they were being innocently affection out in the open in the middle of Fell's Point and no one batted an eye. Your welcome over here ladies.

    Posted by: Pekemo | Aug 20, 2009 12:46:26 PM

  4. I spent a good deal of my formative years here doing what kids do and i can tell you it is pretty difficult to get kicked out. I have never experienced any discrimination here and have visited many times with very mixed company including other gays, lesbians and people of intederminite gender to the casual public.

    I have a hard time believing this story but certainly dont want to blame the victim.

    Posted by: Beall | Aug 20, 2009 12:56:29 PM

  5. Right. On.

    Posted by: rob | Aug 20, 2009 1:08:22 PM

  6. "The owner plans to release surveillance video showing the couple's inappropriate behavior on Thursday."

    That should resolve the issue one way or another.

    Although I find it interesting that the manager said when people behave inappropriately they are told to stop. The lesbian couple were told to leave.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Aug 20, 2009 1:08:28 PM

  7. I grew-up going to the Tastee Diner with family and friends and still do. I can see this happening there. What is considered x-rated behavior by gays is acceptable behavior for straights in their 'family style' restaurants. I don't care how Lisa Wilkes chooses to couch it, there is a double standard. Let's not forget, Maryland is a southern plantation state and the Wilkes' have been part of the "old" Maryland ways.

    Posted by: Bojo | Aug 20, 2009 1:32:30 PM

  8. I always wonder how often gay and lesbian couples are kicked out just for being a normal couple and how often they actually are being innappropriate regardless of their orientation. I know both happen, and the former is appalling, but accusing someone or an establishment of homophobia or discrimination when you actually were being innappropriate really hurts our cause.

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 20, 2009 1:33:50 PM

  9. Why is there a story like this coming out every week recently? I wasn't there and haven't seen the tape, so I can't claim to know what happened here. But in a couple recent incidents it turned out the gay couples were indeed behaving inappropriately (one was in San Francisco, and one of the guys completely changed his story when a reporter called, then hung up on him---this after having created a huge fuss and holding a protest in front of the bar).

    I think that anything beyond hand holding and a brief kiss is pretty gross in most public places, whether gay or straight. Lying about being a victim is even worse if you crossed the lines of good taste. I'll reserve judgment here, but I'd be uncomfortable if I were trying to eat and some couple was going at it in plain view.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 20, 2009 2:03:59 PM

  10. If they indeed did get kicked out because they were gay, that sucks. But honestly, I would kick anyone out that was kissing and making out. Its a fucking eating establishment, not a goddamn motel room.

    No one wants to see you sucking the face off of your partner, be they gay, straight or whatever.

    Honestly, this sounds like a case of two people trying to get an out of court settlement.

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 20, 2009 2:23:23 PM

  11. (Video didn't work for me, so I'm going off the text alone) Anything more than kissing is suddenly "X-rated"? Has this person ever SEEN an X-rated film? Unless she starts getting specific about what she's talking about, and it really is X-rated, I think Wilkes should be sued for damaging the reputation of these two women. I assume publicly X-rated behavior is a crime there, so this is a serious accusation that the police would be obliged to follow up on.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 20, 2009 2:27:52 PM

  12. I've been to this diner with other gay men and have never had a problem. I worked in a chain bookstore (not a porn shop) where a few folks of a variety of sexual orientations felt a need to get it on. I've also sat at a shared table in a hibachi restaurant where a straight couple felt the need to eat each others tonsils and grope during the meal. It's not appropriate. Take it on home ladies.

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 20, 2009 2:50:47 PM

  13. Sorry but Torian looks guilty, guilty of not finding a bra that fits properly...and guilty of probably going too far with her Jackay-esque girlfriend. You know Jackay was pushing it, going too far so she could scream "what you looking at bitch!?" to other patrons. Sorry but I'm siding with the restaurant and I'm tired of gays playing the homophobia card. If you are in a family place act accordingly, I don't care if you are just snuggling, even though I'm sure in this case there was more, it's still unnecessary to make everyone witness your undying passionate love for one another. take it home.

    Posted by: john | Aug 20, 2009 2:56:15 PM

  14. @john

    While I agree with you that the two women were probably acting inappropriately I find your racism pretty fucking disgusting. This is 2009, Jackhole. It's time to evolve.

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 20, 2009 3:21:04 PM

  15. My ex boyfriend and I would eat here all of the time a few years ago and we never experienced any sort of discrimination- that isn't to say that the situation these ladies claim to happen couldn't have occurred. However, I am very skeptical of their accusations.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 20, 2009 3:27:33 PM

  16. I don't think anyone can say right now which party was in the wrong but it does seem like a good time to discuss and analyze what constitutes appropriate behavior for couples in the public realm. Without question, there is a double standard as to what's allowed, even in very glbt friendly places. It's quite odd when people, people we probably even know well, cringe at the sight of non-heterosexual couples displaying affection to one another.

    This situation is bound to get more attention as the glbt community becomes braver and as a result increases visibility. I only hope that people who purport to be tolerant realize that tolerance doesn't begin and end with their assessment of what consitutes tolerance.

    I also hope that we as a community support these two ladies. Even if they are found to be the antagonizers, they need our support and guidance, whatever results come to light.

    Posted by: ED2 | Aug 20, 2009 3:32:19 PM

  17. @ ED2 - thank you for making sense here.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Aug 20, 2009 4:30:31 PM

  18. I hope the CCTV/video tells the true story, whatever it is here ... I will be shocked, though, if it comes out that they were kicked out just for holding or a kiss. I live a mile away in Silver Spring, and this is a very gay-friendly area, not just gays in the area, but the straight people are mostly gay-friendly to us too. Even if they're homophobic (and that's a big IF) the owners here would be plain dumb to knowingly alienate such a large segment of their clientele; really bad for business -- that's why I have my doubts.

    Posted by: markyt | Aug 20, 2009 8:50:14 PM

  19. Agree with MARKYT above. While I have never eaten at Tastee Diner (its way too common for my taste), Silver Spring is a very LGBT-friendly town, in the heart of the liberal part of Maryland, a stone's throw from DC. The diner owner would have acted extremely stupid if she kicked out the couple just for being lesbians. On the other hand, being BOTH lesbian AND black could have been a problem, even though Silver Spring has a diverse community.

    Posted by: tropos | Aug 20, 2009 9:23:28 PM

  20. @ tropos,
    well, aren't you special.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 21, 2009 4:46:07 AM

  21. I just don't know about this one. To me, the video does seem to support the claims that one of the women was burying her face in the other's breasts. And whether the couple is gay or straight, I don't want to see ANYONE hanging all over each other like this.

    Posted by: jen | Aug 21, 2009 1:40:54 PM

  22. I am sure when the owner releases the video of the woman it will be posted here... I am curious to see what actually occurred. I have a feeling that it was far from X rated... But like many here have said, when I am out eating dinner I don't want to see people making out - gay or straight.

    Posted by: Kristoffer | Aug 21, 2009 8:57:46 PM

  23. The management of the diner acted without prejudice. Any couple behaving as these two did would have been asked to leave the place.

    Posted by: SpeakNow | Aug 22, 2009 5:27:04 AM

  24. well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? no matter how distasteful, if het couples can do it in public w/o recrimination, why can't gay or lesbian couples? i will always go to the front of the bus on this bullshit.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 22, 2009 5:31:05 AM

  25. Agreed NIC. Even if they were doing something you guys wouldn't want to see... so what? I see straight people make out all the time, and I don't freak out about it, nor does anyone else.

    Unless they were eating each other out on the counter or something, I call shenanigans on the management.

    Posted by: Eshto | Aug 31, 2009 3:24:02 PM

Post a comment


« «Jerusalem Gay Center Hires Guard, Installs Security System« «