Here We Go


The very first flight we took with our son was when he was only a few weeks old.  We were heading to a wedding in Los Angeles.

Those who know us know all too well it was only fitting our son would be on a cross-country flight before turning one month old. We were new dads but as all parents know, it’s a learn-on-the-job type gig.  Spend twenty-four seven with anyone and you tend to figure them out quite well.

As we sat at our gate at Logan Airport I watched as two women across the way chatted and pointed at us. I hadn’t really thought about comments or stares. We were flying from Boston to Los Angeles after all, two fairly progressive cities.

After a few moments one of the ladies came over, took my hand, which at the moment was burping my child, moved it down and said, “No, you burp here.”

I just looked at her. Did she really just do that?

First off, it’s strange when anyone I don’t know touches me but even after just two short weeks of burping our child every two to three hours, we quickly figured out the “right spot.”

I moved my hand back, he burped, and I just simply smiled, hoping she would walk away.  Instead she asked, “So, where is his mother?”

I honestly don’t remember how I responded.  Does she go up to single mothers she sees and asks where the father is?  It was at that moment I realized that no matter where we are or where we’re traveling, we stick out.

This didn’t and hasn’t stopped us from traveling, of course.  Our son has now been on roughly thirty flights in his twenty-seven months on this earth.  He even has his own frequent flier card.

It was right before his second birthday, our last “free flight” as he was still a baby and we were heading from Los Angeles to Louisville, Kentucky to visit some of our dearest friends.  As we sat on the flight from Las Vegas to Louisville I immediately felt the stares.  If a woman in Boston has the gall to ask me about my child, what would they say in Kentucky?  I braced myself.

In the middle of the flight I got up to use the restroom and the flight attendants were all in the back catching up on the latest news and life updates.  As I approached they all smiled and said, “We are all sitting back here talking about you guys.  You guys are just such a cute family!”  It made me smile.

As we landed in Louisville the family in front of us turned around and welcomed us to Kentucky.  They told us everything we should do, see and eat during our stay and asked us all about our son.  Their conversation was genuine and again I smiled.

Today we’re headed home for Thanksgiving, on our way to Kansas City.  Walking through the airport, a now-familiar family routine, I know we still stick out.  We may not look like the other families returning home from their Disney World vacations but we aren’t so different.  We are just like them: proud parents taking a trip to Grandma’s house with our beautiful son.  As we board the plane our son shouts out, “Here we go!” Everyone, buckled in their seats, joins in, “Here we go!”  Our little guy starts to laugh.  I smile bigger than I ever have.

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Business owner moved to tears by outpouring of support after she stood up for LGBT rights. 

The owner of a Greek restaurant in Wisconsin was ‘shocked’ by the support she has received after she made a public stand against a homophobe

The owner of a Greek restaurant in La Crosse, Wisconsin, was moved to tears over the weekend at the show of support and gratitude she received after shutting down a homophobe on Facebook.
Despina Kozidis, AKA Gracie, is the owner of Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps on Campbell Road.

When a woman posted a message on a La Crosse Foodie Facebook page seeking recommendations for places to eat in the town, Gracie took the opportunity to post a message last Wednesday about her business.

That should have been the end of the matter, except for the fact that Kozidis had recently changed her profile image to incorporate a rainbow via the Facebook rainbow filter app.

Her posting was spotted by local Tea Party activist, Greg Luce, reports the La Crosse Tribune. He clearly didn’t like the fact that Gracie was a visible supporter of LGBT rights, and posted a message saying that he would no longer consider using her business.

‘Hi Despina. I saw your post on La Crosse Foodie. I love gyros, but I detest people with rainbow filters on their picture. It’s an abomination that we are being forced to condone deviant sexual behavior. I will NOT be visiting your restaurant, I’m sorry.’

Kozidis was shocked. She had not expected negative commentary and was thrown by what to do. She phoned her daughter, Sofia Kozidis, for advice.

‘She was freaking out,’ Sophia told the Tribune, before explaining that her mother had experienced intolerance and bigotry while growing up in Greece but had not expected to encounter the same in the U.S.

‘The culture that she’s grown up in is sometimes not very accepting, but in coming to the U.S., being a single mother, having a business, she’s learning every day how to be a part of the community, how to be accepting.’

Mother and daughter thought long about what to do, before deciding that they didn’t think a customer with views such as those voiced by Luce would be welcome at their establishment. So, Gracie answered with the following message.
‘That’s great! We prefer to have accepting, coexisting consumers. It seems we have come to an agreement that it is best for both parties that you do not visit my business. Thank you.’

Sofia took a screenshot of the exchange. She redacted Luce’s surname, and posted the image to her own Facebook page and also to the La Crosse Foodie page. Luce labeled the posting as ‘inappropriate’, and removed his comment. The La Crosse Foodie page was also subsequently closed down.

Any fears Gracie may have had that her stance would lead to negative recriminations against her business were quickly dispelled. She received message of support on both her own Facebook page and the page of Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps.

After the end of business on Saturday, the following message was posted on the Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps page:

‘We want to thank each and every single person who commented, sent well wishes and love and traveled to come and see Gracie at the restaurant today.

‘We were not prepared for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support. So, if you did not get served as quickly as we would have wanted to serve you, please accept our deepest apologies!

‘Come back and we now know how to handle this.

‘This was completely unexpected and very much appreciated. Gracie, at one point, had to go into the kitchen and cry from the level of attendance and show of support.

‘You will never know just how much this means to her and her family. So please, accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience that may have been caused today. We love you. We want to see you again. We are closed tomorrow but Monday will bring a new day and better preparations for all the love coming our way!’

Another posting simply said: ‘At Gracie’s we love everyone. Food does not show discrimination; food does not judge and everyone is welcome under a roof of love here!’

Speaking to Gay Star Business, Gracie said that she had been ‘shocked’ by the support she had received over the last few days: ‘I’m still in shock’.

Although she had received ‘a couple’ of negative comments on social media, the positive comments had greatly outweighed the negative.

A spokesperson for 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection, a local advocacy organization that promotes LGBT-friendly businesses, told Gay Star Business it was great to see the establishment get such support.

‘Gracie’s has worked to keep their doors open through some lean times,’ said Executive Director, Jackson Jantzen.

‘It makes her willingness to make the exchange and her position as a welcoming and inclusive business member a more powerful gesture.

‘We are so grateful to see such a large number of our community rally around her with appreciation. It’s a powerful moment in time for our community here in the rural Midwest region our organization serves.’

Have you been to Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps?

Submit a review for them and encourage everyone to head to Gracie’s!





Source: Business owner moved to tears by outpouring of support after she stood up for LGBT rights – Gay Star News

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“Tell Us Tuesday:” Heyyy y’all Nashville is coming out!

  “I admire this town a lot. They take care of their own. There’s not a lot of places in the world, much less America, that do that. It’s just a great place.”

-Justin Timberlake

Nashville is HL’s newest city on the list! We want to know what businesses in Nashville are LGBT friendly and not so friendly. Check out our Nashville page here. Let’s do as JT suggests and take care of our own. 

Click here and submit a Nashville review!

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