Student upset over alleged discrimination
On Monday night, Laurier student Jenny Kirby and her girlfriend were at Café 1842, at the Huether Hotel. After engaging in public affections, the two were asked to leave by the owner.
“She says, ‘Stop that, that’s enough of this. That’s not the place for this,’” said Kirby.
“We were basically shamed out of the café for kissing.”
Although Kirby believes that the owner of the café was discriminating against her because of her sexual orientation, owner of Huether Hotel Sonia Adlys saw the situation a little differently.
“I’m walking up to the café, standing beside the dessert fridge, and I see two young girls necking. I was hoping it would stop, but it didn’t,” said Adlys.
“We have senior people, families, we’re a family restaurant. I walked up to them, yes I was maybe a little bit loud, and I said “excuse me, can you please leave?
“Whether it had been two males, a male and a female or two females, I don’t want to look at that. It makes me uncomfortable,” said Adlys.
“I don’t care who she was with, it’s not appropriate in a family restaurant.”
Kirby noted that she generally finds Waterloo pretty queer-friendly, but that she was shocked at how this encounter with Adlys made her feel as though she was targeted because she was with another girl.
“Everywhere I go it seems like people have a generally open mind. Places like Gen X and Princess are very queer-friendly. They have queer flags in their stores.”
She went on to say that her and her girlfriend would not be returning to the Huether, and have many friends who have agreed to boycott the establishment – the Facebook group, which Kirby started on Monday night, has over 650 members.
“I’m always kind of wary when we make out in public or do anything, because we do elicit stares. This kind of confirmed that,” said Kirby.
Cory Sousa, marketing and communications director for the Rainbow Centre at Laurier, noted that he feels queer couples are generally well-received both on the Laurier campus and in the Waterloo community.
“We have had a couple of incidents where people feel uncomfortable either on the bus sitting with their partner or dealing with servers in restaurants,” said Sousa. “For me it doesn’t deter me. It actually encourages me. I try to make a spectacle of it. For the most part people ‘tone it down’ and probably not return to that establishment.”
He added that this type of thing is bad publicity for the restaurant or café because word-of-mouth is a powerful product.
According to Sousa, there needs to be a give-and-take relationship between queer couples and the community; however, it is going to require baby steps.
“People in the queer community need to be comfortable going out and being themselves and not having to fake it. But also society needs to be more receptive because we are in the 21st century– the queer movement has come so far, and we are trying to make step in the right direction.”