Awesome Ohioans Use Love To Defend Gay Men Confronted By Hate

Ohiolove3Here’s some evidence that even though Ohio has plenty of work to do in terms of equality and is home to anti-equality House Speaker John Boehner, the Buckeye State is full of awesome people who love their LGBT friends and neighbors…

Joel Diaz, Chief Development Office at AIDS Resource Center Ohio, and his friend Ethan were at a popular pizza truck in Columbus, Ohio, holding hands and huddled together against the cold, when a random man told them to end the “gay shit.” The crowd who overheard the homophobe’s command didn’t fall in line behind him; instead, they ran the man off into the night, making clear that they won’t stand for hate in their community. 

I’ll let Diaz writing at The Huffington Post, fill in the rest:

…All of the sudden the guy in front of us turns around and tells us to cut our “gay shit” out.

I was a bit startled by his words but I didn’t expect what happened next. Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that. By happenstance my friend John, who is also gay, was standing in front of him and as he continued his rant about being disgusted by us we both let him know that this was our city too and that we were not about to stand down to his bigoted ideas, especially not in one of the gayest neighborhoods in town. As he continued it was actually the straight people in line who spoke up that were so awesome.

I didn’t expect to see allies so willing to chime in and let this guy know that his hate speech wouldn’t be tolerated. The best part though was as he grew more irate and vocal the guys who work the truck stopped what they were doing and leaned towards the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate. They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him. He begrudgingly got out of line and walked away escorted by a friend who had been hanging back.

As I walked away with my pizza all I could think about was “THAT’S IT!” Every person who spoke up to defend us including the pizza guys representing their business was doing their part to make hate a thing of the past.

What an incredible show of support. Awesome work, pizza-eating denizens of Columbus, Ohio, and thanks to Diaz for sharing his story.

[Image from Mister Ohio at Skreened.]


  1. nick says

    Nice to read this about Columbus-a city I have lived in for over 40 years. There are isolated pockets of the city that are accepting of gay people but it is also the city that has a closeted head of a major Fortune 500 company, a homophobic, rancid Preacher with wide influence in the RNC- Rev.Rod Parsley, and a political base that although is leaning democratic has always been owned and operated by Republican heavyweights. It has a documented history of gay bashing and subtle subjugation of gay people. It is however a city where many small town Ohio gays and lesbians migrate to considering the long history of hate, bigotry and homophobia of Cincinnati and the more open homophobia in older industrial areas of the state. Good to know that areas of the city that gays once held sway in the neighborhood gentrification and now are populated with many progressive straight folks/allies are letting their voices be heard. Columbus –still has a long way to go.

  2. Michael Bedwell says

    I’m most impressed by the workers for the pizza truck willing to refuse to serve the guy. We can send our thanks to the company’s creator Mike Sorboro at He’s apparently totally straight, but in addition to publicly thanking everyone for the support this story has generated
    has repeatedly particpated in the annual Pride Parade in Columbus.

  3. GLAW2014 says

    This story actually just warmed my little heart on a freezing cold evening. Good for the people of Columbus who stand for treating others the way they want to be treated!

  4. Mike says

    Yeah, C-bus! Lived here for over 20 years without any probs. I have had hateful incidents in DC, Chicago and Sydney but would never malign a city for a few close-minded idiots. Stay golden C-Bus!

  5. Francis says

    Columbus is a pretty gay-friendly and highly gay populated city, and this proves that. Really great story. Shows things are improving. Even in a city like Columbus, something like this wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. Yes, Columbus is still Ohio, it’s not as gay-accepting as a San Francisco as Nick’s comment shows, but for a Midwestern city, it’s pretty good.

    I’m happy because it’s stories like this, the backlash against Torii Hunter, and our marriage successes in November, that are proving that we’re gaining more real allies who are willing to stand and fight for us.

  6. Linda says

    I’ve lived in the Short North area for 20 years, through the gentrification, through the gayness getting straighter and straighter. I have to say, I’m thrilled to see that the straights who started flooding the gayborhood for the most part have been allies and avid supporters of equality, excited to become part of something great. Some of the old guard are still holding out, clinging to the old seperatist ways- OUR bar, not YOURS- but anymore the bars here are for everybody and people don’t even ask if a bar is gay or straight.In fact, when I first read this on FB I wasn’t surprised at all.This is how my neighborhood has been for a while. Kick ass.

  7. Nelson says

    I have to sit here amazed at Nick’s comments, but perhaps as a Columbus resident of 45 years I am missing something. There was a gay rights ordinance signed by Republican mayor, Greg Lashutka, way back in the 1980s. The Republican influence is mostly in suburbs like Upper Arlington, where I live – and I have never had a single problem with my neighbors, even the ones with conservative candidates’ signs in their yards. It’s one of the gayest and gay-friendliest cities in the country. So I am not surprised by this at all. I had the exact same experience in a food store line in my Republican suburb (Columbus itself is very Dem). Someone made a comment when my late first partner and I were checking out, and the straight people in line just lit into the idiot. We just stood and watched, thankful and amazed while they protected us like bear mamas! And that was 15 years ago.

  8. Diogenes Arktos says

    I’m not going to google/&c to get the details, but I remember one of those gay books of lists that back in the early 1990s claimed Columbus was the most gay-friendly city in the country.

  9. Fred Johnson says

    You cannot tell anyone what to think about you, homoes… One homoe who doesn’t have to live with the fact of hate or pretend it isn’t alive and well is Tyler Clementi, let him be your boddhisattva

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