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that their names not be published for fear of ongoing retribution.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."

Kleinsasser

Comments

  1. says

    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.
    *eyeroll*

  2. david from Edmonton says

    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.

  3. JoelD says

    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

  4. AJ says

    @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.

  5. ratbastard says

    @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.

  6. Trouble94114 says

    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.

  7. Francis says

    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.

  8. Jay says

    “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?

  9. Howard says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. says

    *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.

  13. UFFDA says

    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 homophobes…in Canada.

  14. Graphicjack says

    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.

  15. Gigi says

    ‘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]

    Charming.

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

  16. Zlick says

    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.

  17. Lalala says

    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.

  18. says

    @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.

  19. Swiminbuff says

    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???

  20. says

    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.

  21. says

    @Swiminbuff – clearly his feed bag was empty and his mom wasn’t around to refill it so he went a’walkin’.

    i remember my one and only experience in manitoba…. caught some teens spraying “white power” on my friend’s van. only they spelled it “wight power”. we chose to laugh rather than be angry. wight power. right. their lives are gonna be soaring successes.

  22. Hue-Man says

    Small towns across Canada are dying because there are few jobs to keep the kids once they graduate high school. Towns like Morris should be cheering on ANY new business in town, particularly if the Big City (Winnipeg) is less than an hour’s drive away.

    The federal cabinet minister referred to in the story, Vic Toews, has given permission to hate-filled Manitobans to bully anyone they want. By campaigning against new anti-bullying legislation as anti-religion, he’s encouraged this kind of abuse in schools and outside as well. The only thing that has a hope of stopping his hate is his much-coveted appointment as a senior Federal judge! (To learn more about him and hypocrisy, Google his name, “divorce” and “baby-sitter”)

  23. anon says

    Exactly why were they forced to leave? My guess is that they simply aren’t making any money. Small town restaurants generally have to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to make money and the food has to be a local favorite. This isn’t easy to pull off. I’d be surprised if they were making money but decided to split because of the comments of some of their patrons.

  24. ratbastard says

    It certainly sounds from this reporting like this is a very unwelcoming town for gays, but the fact most small business, especially restaurants, don’t last long, and go out of business. Operating a small independent business is VERY hard work and is an uphill battle these days.

  25. Russ says

    I’ve been a fan of Canada ever since they passed SSM nationwide in 2005. But I’ve always wondered if it’s really such a progressive wonderland as is frequently claimed. This story seems to peel back the layers of self-congratulation and reveal a population that is as thoroughly homophobic as it is here in my own state of Texas.

    Now I’m wondering if it was just the fluke of having a different political system that made it much easier to get SSM passed so soon. Sure doesn’t sound like the “real Candians” love the gays, anymore than Sarah Palin’s “real Americans” do.

    Anyone who has actually lived among Canadians, and not in a gayborhood of a big city, can add more about the attitudes of ordinary citizens up there?

  26. says

    Russ – there are many factors. A biggie is that our second-largest religious denomination in the country is the United Church – which is pretty darn progressive. I was raised in it, with a gay minister, in an Affirming congregation.

    There’s also the reality that our charter of rights and freedoms is pretty exceptional – it makes it very clear that despite one’s held prejudices, those prejudices cannot be codified into law. No Canadian will pretend our country is free from backward-thinking bigots; but the reality is their bigotries hold little to no political power or sway.

    Ordinary citizens? it’s largely live and let live – but bible-thumpers still exist, especially in the more rural neighbourhoods, and conservative provinces.

    the difference is in political structure AND in media – we don’t have a Fox News on television reinforcing ignorant bigotries to people in the guise of “news” – and make no mistake, that has a massive impact on the country and culture.

  27. Mike says

    No sadly we still have lot’s of people in the closet here in Canada! Too bad these guys are getting run out of town because a group of men cannot come to terms with their own sexuality..We have come way to far in this country to allow these people to win. I would not leave and as long as you have the support of the rest of town, f*)k em! Call the police and have them arrested!

  28. Shawn C says

    This happened in CANADA! This makes me sad to be Canadian right now. To be honest thought look at the state of the guy saying these things, by the looks of it hes dating his cousin.

  29. roupie says

    @Russ. Me and my partner of more than 15 years live in a small town in northern New Brunswick, on the East coast. Even if NB is not the most liberal of our provinces, we never heard a peep about us being gay from anyone.Is it because francophones are a majority around here and they, in most cases, have an attitude of “laissez-faire” or because the church has basically zero influence in public life (or because I’m a lawyer and people know I don’t take s..t from anyone), life for gay people around here is pretty good. It is basically a non-issue.

  30. roupie says

    @Russ. Me and my partner of more than 15 years live in a small town in northern New Brunswick, on the East coast. Even if NB is not the most liberal of our provinces, we never heard a peep about us being gay from anyone.Is it because francophones are a majority around here and they, in most cases, have an attitude of “laissez-faire” or because the church has basically zero influence in public life (or because I’m a lawyer and people know I don’t take s..t from anyone), life for gay people around here is pretty good. It is basically a non-issue.

  31. andrew says

    @AJ: Hopefully littlekiwi’s rants and intolerence of dissent won’t stop you from expressing your opinions because that is his goal. He constantly, through devious tactic, tries to bully people into silence. He has many aliases that he uses to make it seem like a large number of people agree with him. Don’t be fooled by this intollerant authoritarian bully!!!

  32. MikeMB says

    Ok first of all, Morris is not representative of Manitoba or even rural Manitoba. It’s part of the Mennonite Bible Belt and has a population of about 1800. In the article, the two homophobes quoted have Mennonite surnames. I’ve lived in Winnipeg all of my life and it’s one of the most progressive and accepting cities when it comes to LGBT issues (and was also the world’s first major city to elect a gay mayor back in 1998)

    Most of the rest of the province is of the “live and let live” mentality. It’s this particularly conservative religion which is the problem here and should in no way, influence anyone to paint the rest of the province, or even the Prairies as intolerant.

    Incidentally, Morris was the town that made the national news a couple months ago when its newspaper editor published a racist editorial against First Nations peoples.

  33. UFFDA says

    Very interesting stuff about larger Canada here. British Columbia is a big part of my Northwestern American life, and of course Vancouver is an exciting and impressive city, hugely liberal and tolerant as are most places with a significant Scandinavian influence.

    Gay people get in trouble everywhere, it’s just that maybe less so in big cities, and possible in Canada generally.

    But there’s no excuse for Kiwi anywhere.

  34. Henry Holland says

    BullyKiwi: “i’m one of the few people who puts a face and name to their comments”

    I just scrolled through your awful blog, you don’t put your name, you put an alias, just like all the people you attack. I still laugh at the one time you tried that “post your URL!!!!” crap and the guy wrote back “Here’s my real name, what’s YOURS?” and…crickets.

    “the haters hate that because they don’t have the orbs to do the same”

    No, anyone who uses their real name online is an idiot, inviting stalkers and nutjobs. I don’t care that BullyKiwi uses an alias, it’s the hypocrisy.

  35. says

    i’m tickled that some grown man with no balls took the time to use different aliases to talk about me, rather than the article. your obsessive infatuation is duly noted.

    crickets? what are you talking about? hi, here i am, with my face and name, talking about Gay Issues for all of Canada to see.
    http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=770650&playlistId=1.973298&binId=1.815892

    you pathetic coward 😀

    if the link doens’t work, try here: http://www.queerty.com/plan-for-lgbt-school-in-toronto-meets-with-opposition-from-gay-community-20120928/

    or let me know and i can send you a transcript. 😀

    i’ve been public and visible and doing whatever little bit i can to give a face to Who We Are since I was a highschooler. whatever you adult insecurities are, don’t lump them onto me. my spine is intact.

  36. millerbeach says

    Idiots live in the biggest cities and the smallest towns. No geographical area is exempt. Don’t quit…take your skills to where they would be appreciated. Certainly don’t quit because some knuckle-dragging idiot got some face time on the local news. Egads…just when I thought I was horny enough to do ANY man, then this thing comes along…

  37. Smurf says

    How can it be that supporting gay choice is progressive? If humans would endorse gay style, there would be no humans any more. Progress, and that is us now comparing to us from before, is the result of the evolution and becoming extinct because of sexual preference of same sex can not yield progressive results.

  38. Clive says

    When I moved to Canada in 2010 from London for a job opportunity I was excited to move to a progressive country with polite people, diversity and a safe environment. What I arrived to were unfriendly, arrogant bigots with moderate education and more shooting than cities in the United States whom they openly hate. Canada has a wonderful PR system. Don’t believe it. I am thrilled to say I am taking a new job in the States in May.

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