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Homophobic Attacks Drive Gay Canadian Restaurant Owners to Close Business, Leave Town

Homophobes have essentially run a gay-owned business out of town in rural Manitoba, Canada because of a series of unrelenting verbal attacks, its mayor tells the Winnipeg Free Press:

Potsnhands"It's very sad this has happened, that people have been small-minded enough to make them feel unwelcome," van der Linde said Monday. "It certainly doesn't reflect well on the community."

The two owners are from Winnipeg and felt they were filling a void with their restaurant, which specializes in home-cooked lunch and dinners. But they weren't prepared for the bigotry they experienced in the form of direct comments and confrontations about their sexual orientation.

The owners did not specify what the attacks were:

"It's been very difficult for us. It got to the point of being out of control by this certain group of people," one of the owners told the Free Press on Monday. They originally declined to speak last week, saying only that they were closing for "personal" reasons. But they later changed their minds on Monday after learning many others were expressing concern on their behalf. They asked that their names not be published for fear of ongoing retribution.

"This has been a very difficult decision," said the co-owner. "I cannot tell you how this has affected us on so many levels."

"Both of us understand this small group of individuals don't represent the community of Morris and surrounding communities as a whole," said one. Although it wasn't a secret that the restaurant was owned by two gay men, he said they've done nothing to "flaunt" their sexual orientation.

"But by no means are we ashamed of who we are and how we live," he said,

The paper did catch up with one homophobe (below) who is not unhappy they are leaving:

"They should get the hell out of here. I don't really like them -- the service and who they are," said Aaron Kleinsasser of Morris, as he came out of another restaurant in town. "I agree (they should leave). It makes you feel uncomfortable. I've been in there twice, I believe, and I regret it. I'm never going to go back there again."


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  1. that homophobe they interviewed is a perfect example of why LGBT people from the Prairies flee to the bigger cities and more progressive provinces.

    he sure is impressive, eh? clearly a goal-driven and highly-intellectual fella whose opinions are fueled by brilliance and mental clarity.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 2, 2013 11:32:06 AM

  2. lil' kiwi: I love your comments. never stop being the wonderful person you are. :) / nosnark

    Posted by: Dawn | Apr 2, 2013 11:44:30 AM

  3. This is when I am ashamed to be Canadian. These people are not representative of the rest of us who are tolerant and patient and kind. Small mindedness and hatred exist everywhere, I just thought we were slightly more enlightened than this, but I guess we have work to do everywhere. I guess the words of Christ, "treat others as you would like to be treated" has escaped these people. They are entitled to their beliefs, but hurting others is not a Canadian trait.

    Posted by: david from Edmonton | Apr 2, 2013 11:46:21 AM

  4. Sadly, we are not entirely free of 'phobes in Canada. The mayor's response is appropriate. I hope the more sensible citizen's of Morris step up to help address a change in culture.

    All that said, with a partner from Alberta, this stuff is rampant until the 'phobes understand it's their brother, sister, uncle, etc. and then it changes...slowlyl

    Posted by: JoelD | Apr 2, 2013 11:47:25 AM

  5. @Dawn: Don't ever disagree with Little Kiwi tho. He jumps right to the closet case stuff. I disagreed with him about the phrasing of something once and all of a sudden I am a self-hating coward closet case with no life and no friends who should kill myself.

    Posted by: AJ | Apr 2, 2013 11:50:02 AM

  6. @AJ,

    Or he makes comments about your father [my father] dying after being raped by black men. I've cleaned it up a little.

    And of course the old self loathing closet case spiel.

    Little K is an uber troll in the true sense of that word. But if that's the kind of environment he grew up in, I suppose it explains some of his psychosis.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 2, 2013 12:03:41 PM

  7. And I for one, regret having bothered to even look at the photograph of him. It's amost impossible NOT to launch into some type of appearance based tirade involving his overall intelligence and lineage.

    Posted by: Trouble94114 | Apr 2, 2013 12:05:22 PM

  8. Aaron Kleinsasser---karma. Karma is going to get you. Now you're recognizable for being a horrendous bigot. Have fun with the ensuing backlash.

    This is a very sad story and as Kiwi said, goes to show why LGBT people tend to flock to big cities and liberal states/provinces. Goes to show the bullying often doesn't end when you turn 18 and become an adult. I hope these two men find peace wherever they land next.

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 2, 2013 12:13:31 PM

  9. "I've been in there twice, I believe, and regret it."

    Isn't that very similar to the type of thing a closet case might say if caught in the act a third time?

    Posted by: Jay | Apr 2, 2013 12:14:05 PM

  10. At least it's nice to know that the USA hasn't a monopoly on ignorant little brain-dead cretins.

    Posted by: StevyD | Apr 2, 2013 12:14:52 PM

  11. You guys need to chill. This went from a story about a gay couple in Canada forced out of their business and community to a personal attack against Little Kiwi. While I am no fan of Little Kiwi, his comments on this story do not justify this kind of attack. You are trying to spread your grudge match with him across the entire Towleroad comments board, and both sides need to stop.

    GIRLS, you're both pretty, so play nice.

    Posted by: Howard | Apr 2, 2013 12:24:42 PM

  12. These restauranteurs should just move to Palm Springs - all of the other Canadians have.

    Posted by: OverIt | Apr 2, 2013 12:34:40 PM

  13. @OverIt
    Traditionalists say/write "restaurateurs" (no "n").

    The world is going to hell in a handbasket. Also, get off my lawn. ;)

    Posted by: Enzo | Apr 2, 2013 12:50:18 PM

  14. Meh, Kiwi has in every way reaped these... insensitivities.

    He is a freaking jerk and a bully, no two ways about it.

    I hope this couple has better luck in another place. It's a huge loss to that town, but once they want sooo bad.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 2, 2013 12:58:21 PM

  15. er one...

    Also, I always wish the rural Canadians would use their hatred for Americans as a springboard to rebel against "Americans" as a concept (bigoted, religious, fat jerks) and be progressive awesome people just to screw it to US more.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 2, 2013 1:00:32 PM

  16. *elegant curtsy*

    You know, it's funny - people talk about "small town values", and close-knit communities: but the closer the knit the more of an outcast you are for not blending in.

    it's like people who talk about "the good old days" - it just shows that they're not too aware of how life was, and in many cases still IS, for those that Norman Rockwell didn't paint.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 2, 2013 1:14:08 PM

  17. Kiwi is indeed a kind of monster with an extreme intelligence that he has chosen on legion occasions to
    unleash in diabolical verbal assaults. It's why I call him Frankenfag, the Marat Sade of Towleroad, proof that urban gays can be as bad a rural Canada.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Apr 2, 2013 1:32:23 PM

  18. I don't get this mentality. You don't like them? Fine... Don't eat there. But to threaten and run them out of business? That kinda crazy. As much as I lothe Chick-Fil-A, I would never think to threaten them or try to run them out of business... I just will never eat there. This guy's a moron, plain and simple.

    Posted by: Graphicjack | Apr 2, 2013 1:34:27 PM

  19. I left Manitoba 32 years ago because I grew up with that kind of small-minded ignorance. It's a decision I've never regretted.

    Posted by: Peter | Apr 2, 2013 1:38:04 PM

  20. 'Henry and Esther Sawatzky, residents of Morris since 1955, said they heard the owners were gay.

    "I don't think I like that very much. And the food isn't good," Esther said, noting they had eaten at the restaurant but "not very often."' [from the Winnipeg Times]


    What's with the Kiwi hatefest? Are you guys from Morris?

    Posted by: Gigi | Apr 2, 2013 1:53:11 PM

  21. This whole thing is going to get more difficult in the U.S., when - in few months, gays will be able to marry with full federal benefits along most of the west coast and most of the northeast. The migration of gays and lesbians to those modern states will accelerate, and fewer and fewer gay people will be left to fend for themselves in backwards lands of idiot bigotry. Sad.

    Posted by: Zlick | Apr 2, 2013 2:04:27 PM

  22. I don't recognize the names of all of the Kiwi haters above, but....

    I've seen a few of them post racist, trans-phobic, Obama-hating, Republican loving comments that read as troll-ish and bully-ish. Then, I've seen Lil Kiwi go after them.... hard. Bullies don't like to be bullied.

    Posted by: Lalala | Apr 2, 2013 2:09:34 PM

  23. @Gigi - i'm one of the few people who puts a face and name to their comments. the haters hate that because they don't have the orbs to do the same. doesnt' make my life any worse, doesnt' make their lives any better. but for a brief moment, they can escape the worthlessness of their own lives by anonymously harping on someone else.

    i'll let them have that. lord knows it's the only thing keeping them going.

    @Zlick - totally hear that, and it's not just with Gays, either. in almost all cases, it's those who dream of a world bigger than their own town, whose knowledge of the world and reality runs contrary to what the town wants to keep on believing.

    best of luck to the LGBT people who choose to remain in the prairies. i wish you joy and happiness.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 2, 2013 2:12:52 PM

  24. I wonder if any local full time or part time people were employed at the restaurant and are now out of a job because of a few homophobes? Can't be easy to find a job in rural Manitoba. Good ole Aaron doesn't look like a rocket scientist, but if he was so offended by 2 gay men running a restaurant why was he eating there in the first place???

    Posted by: Swiminbuff | Apr 2, 2013 2:13:21 PM

  25. Very sad. Although I think Canada is an amazing, mostly progressive country, I've heard that not all parts of the country are like that. I suppose that perhaps the urban, cosmopolitan, diverse areas of Canada dominate the country's politics much more than than the urban, progressive areas of the US dominate the US's politics.

    Posted by: | Apr 2, 2013 2:15:28 PM

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