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What Would You Do? Gay Parents Bashed at Texas Restaurant


ABC's What Would You Do? looks at what happens in a Texas restaurant when a pair of lesbian moms is harassed by a waitress in front of their children and other diners.

The show covered a similar situation last May in a Brooklyn restaurant.


(via jmg)

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  1. Wow. I haven't seen any of these segments before now but I do travel on business between the Northeast and Texas frequently. I have to admit that it rings pretty true as I have experienced more sneers and open hostilities in NY than, say, Houston...just saying.

    Posted by: Nunya Bizness | May 23, 2011 9:54:02 PM

  2. Horrible, awful television program. Do we really need to engineer these situations to provoke people obvious reactions? Something about this show seems seriously sick.

    Posted by: Ian | May 23, 2011 9:59:32 PM

  3. I love those two men so much. It's great that they can do that. I hope that if I saw something like that I would be able to do the same.

    Posted by: Complexmind | May 23, 2011 10:11:13 PM

  4. Ian -- Yeah. We do.

    Posted by: finkles2000 | May 23, 2011 10:14:12 PM

  5. TEARS!
    I cried during this, it is moving to be shown that there are those out there who not only care but interveen.
    This show is an excellent safe constructed environment to show compassion or the lack-there-of in people around the country.

    Thank you for sharing it.

    Posted by: Paulo | May 23, 2011 10:26:49 PM

  6. {groans}

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | May 23, 2011 10:34:23 PM

  7. <2 the strength and resolve of Donovan! ! ! It is a sign of the understanding by others we can look forward to. Be it "manufactured" or not...his response was real. Understandably, I am concerned with the patron's lack of concern for a male couple. <3

    Posted by: Phillip Jeffries | May 23, 2011 10:38:08 PM

  8. Golly..some folks are compassionate and while other folks are bigots in our country. Thank god for this TV show, or we never would have realized that! Pure garbage TV.

    Posted by: Ian | May 23, 2011 10:39:05 PM

  9. This was a moving segment ..!
    Renewing my faith in my fellow humans.

    Posted by: Chapeau | May 23, 2011 10:55:28 PM

  10. I agree with IAN. The show is obnoxious. And if I was the man in Texas who intervened [assuming he isn't really part of the script, even though the producers claim not] I'd be royally BS.

    I also agree with NUNYA BIZNESS; folks in the NJ/NY/southern NE [metro Boston,southern CT suburban NYC] can be very aggressive and in your face. And it's a cliche, but southerners and Texans are generally polite and friendly, even if they don't like you or 'approve' of you. I think a lot of it has to do with the very high population densities in the urban northeast [compared to southern and most western cities], and people getting on each other's nerves.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 23, 2011 10:57:30 PM

  11. This doesn't mean Texas is more tolerant than New York City. This was in Farmers Branch, a very conservative suburb of Dallas. I grew up near there and don't think it is anywhere near as accepting (but its more tolerant than people might think). Notice how the gay men have a more difficult time than the lesbians.

    But Texans do have a different way of dealing with conflict. In New York, you mind your own business. It's the least you can do to give the many many people around you a bit of privacy. But Texans see this kind of conflict as a threat to community and conventional propriety. Even if a Texan disapproves of homosexuality, it would be inappropriate to interfere and disturb the social order by bringing it up. Notice how the first man takes the waitress aside to quietly and patiently correct her. He lowers his voice and becomes very serious. That's very Texan.

    Posted by: Xtab | May 23, 2011 10:57:45 PM

  12. I am kind of agree with Ian with the premise of this show. There is just something unbecoming about setting up these situations to record people's reactions. This is not Fannie Flagg on Candid Camera breaking dishes in a china shop.

    A couple of years ago, for Entertainment Tonight, two Deal or No Deal models put on fat suits and traipsed around Manhattan to give us a first hand account of how awful they were treated (mostly stares). As if we need skinny girls to tell the world what chubby girls go through. Anyway, as soon as I saw them, I knew they had on fat suits - you could just tell. Probably the reason most people acted weird around them was because they had on freakin fat suits.

    Thank you for listening.

    Posted by: Angela Channing | May 23, 2011 10:59:13 PM

  13. entrapment, that's what it's otherwise called.

    although i would lie if i said it is not heartening to see the majority of the reactions, especially that hand-written letter. geez, so moving.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | May 23, 2011 11:07:34 PM

  14. This program portrays what are essentially psychology experiments carried out on unwitting subjects. This is deeply, deeply unethical and they should be sued into Bankruptcyland.

    Posted by: Justin L Werner | May 23, 2011 11:14:45 PM

  15. @XTAB,

    'You mind your own business...'


    And it does have to do with being around a lot of people [population density]. The aggressiveness is also related to the high population density. You have to be single minded to get from point A to point B, you learn to be assertive, and you learn to block out a lot of the BS going on around you.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 23, 2011 11:17:25 PM

  16. I think the show is exploitative, and that's awful.

    But that being said... it can also really help to open peoples' eyes to the injustices of the world, and it is REALLY heartwarming and reassuring to see that people do indeed stand up for those being persecuted. I think that's even more important than the issue of "is this show exploitative?".

    Posted by: Yuki | May 23, 2011 11:28:32 PM

  17. Um, wow. No one's reactions would be shown unless they gave permission. And what people SAY is often different from what they DO, which is why "social science" experiments are so powerful. IF the responders are not actors, this is worth a look. Sure, pick at the methodology before you generalize. And I totally appreciate the need to ethically consider human subjects. I have no idea if there is "aftercare" offered to all who witnessed this spectacle - I hope so. But, yeah, I had a tear, and a hope nourished, by the responses. It is not a server's place to judge. But it is also not very Christian, and I'm glad the waitress got called out.

    Posted by: TJ | May 24, 2011 12:00:23 AM

  18. I think this is great. It shows a spotlight on how people honestly react.

    It's a good show.

    Posted by: Geoff | May 24, 2011 12:11:44 AM

  19. Towleroad's headline for this post is as offensive as it is inaccurate. No one is "bashed" in the video.

    Hysterical drama queen rhetoric which equates language with physical violence is one of the reasons many thoughtful people come to regard gay people as demanding special rights. This reminds me of a large-breasted woman with whom I once shared a therapy group. She was forever complaining about men "raping" her "with their eyes."

    You can't rape someone with eyes and you can't bash anyone with words. To imply otherwise trivializes the suffering of people who've actually been raped or bashed.

    Posted by: Bryan | May 24, 2011 12:38:46 AM

  20. My advice to those "recruited" into reality tv shoots is to call your lawyer and bill the production company. Maybe then the SOB's will rehire writers.

    Posted by: Frank | May 24, 2011 12:39:55 AM

  21. The variations between the set-ups are far too complex to make blanket statements like saying that New Yorkers are indifferent to others while Texans have big hearts (as this announcer suggested).
    The only difference was not that one set-up was in New York and the other was in Texas. The restaurants are different, the servers are different (sex, style, height, weight, etc), the patrons are different, etc.
    I've seen Penn and Teller do the same thing where they judge how the patrons reacted to a male vs. a female server doing something peculiar.
    The producers seem to forget that sex is not the only difference between those two particular servers. (One might be more attractive, more irritating, more overweight, older, louder, more intimidating, etc. etc.)
    Experiments with two severs are nothing but a conversation starter, not a scientific experiment worthy of generalized conclusions.

    Posted by: GregV | May 24, 2011 1:33:20 AM

  22. Thanks for sharing Andy. I was moved to tears. Def. sharing this on my FB page.

    Posted by: Bryson | May 24, 2011 2:01:07 AM

  23. Whatever about this show I'm horrified to learn that it's legal to discriminate in a public restaurant on the grounds of sexual orientation.......that is Neanderthal.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 24, 2011 2:31:40 AM

  24. I want to lick that man's sexy ears. Gorgeous both inside and out.

    Posted by: JAMES | May 24, 2011 4:34:38 AM

  25. Unethical, unethical waaaah! Waaaah!

    The only reason you are all calling this unethical is cause you guys would do NOTHING if it was an ethnic, immigrant, disabled or even gay couple! Fact.

    You see yourselves in the people who did nothing and gave the thumbs up. The day we finally understand-especially conscious gay liberals like Andy and JMG-that not all gays are nice people, care about gay rights or even do ANYTHING for gay rights, I can see liberal gays finally get how to strategically lobby for rights without assuming everyone is going to react with a bleeding heart to a picture of a sad gay couple who can't get married.

    Not everyone has empathy!

    Posted by: Rowan | May 24, 2011 5:24:37 AM

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