Leftist activists in Florida scored a minor victory after they successfully bullied the corporate office of a popular grocery store chain into admitting that its employees "should have" written the word "trans" on a cake, despite the employees' hesitation "to take a stance on this issue."
On April 26, two co-founding members of Peer Support Space, an Orlando organization dedicated to helping the LGBTQ+ community in the wake of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, decided to pick up a sheet cake to celebrate a "trans joy" event scheduled for later that evening. One of the co-founders, Dandelion Hill, who identifies as transgender, went into a Publix grocery store in Colonialtown and asked a bakery clerk to write the message "Trans people deserve joy" on one of the cakes.
According to Hill and companion Yasmin Flasterstein, the Publix associate immediately became uncomfortable. Eventually, a manager came and spoke to the pair and explained that, per company policy, the store could not write the word "trans" on a cake. "I’m sorry, we can’t write that. Publix is not allowed to take a stance on this issue," Hill recalled the manager saying.
Eventually, the store and the activists worked out a compromise. The Publix employees wrote the message "People deserve joy" on the cake but left room on the top for the word "trans." They then provided extra icing to Hill and Flasterstein, who added the word to the cake out in the parking lot.
Despite the peaceful resolution to the issue, the two activists were still unsatisfied. They have since positioned themselves as victims and have publicly issued emotionally laden statements that have incited sympathy for their cause. "It was a beautiful event so I didn’t want to ruin it by talking about it then," Flasterstein wrote on Facebook. "So I waited a few days before posting anything but I was extremely disappointed that Publix would do this. ...
"This is shameful," the melodramatic post continued. "It was a slap in the face of the reality of the state of the world on a day where a joyful event ALMOST let me have a break from all that. We very politely pleaded, literal tears in our eyes, to please write the message. They refused."
The emotional approach seemed to work, as the official Publix account on Facebook replied to that post and apologized to Flasterstein for the experience. "Thank you for sharing your concern with us. We are sorry that our associates did not handle your request appropriately. Please message us for more details, and we will gladly make the cake. Thank you," the comment said.
Flasterstein also shared an email from Publix that expanded on that Facebook message. "Our policy indicates that our associates may write statements that are not copyrighted or trademarked, support a charitable cause, are factual and considered to have a positive connotation," the email said, according to the New York Post. "As we indicated in our Facebook conversation, our associates should have fulfilled your request."
Though the email also reportedly expressed Publix's "sincere apologies," Flasterstein remained unassuaged. She sent a follow-up letter demanding yet more answers from Publix. Some of her questions include:
- "What, in your views, makes [trans people] not worthy of the very human need of experiencing joy?"
- "What is the policy for cake writing? What is deemed appropriate or inappropriate?"
- "Where does the LGBTQ+ community fit within your diversity culture?"
- "[W]hat will you do to keep this from happening again?"
The letter stated that the Publix bakery clerk seemed to fear losing her job if she complied with the "trans" request, and Flasterstein, speaking on behalf of Peer Support Space, stated emphatically that the organization did not want the woman to be fired. "[B]ut we demand that you do better," the letter added.
Publix has not responded to requests for comment from several news outlets.
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