Not So Sweet: 3 LGBTQ Employees Fired From Bakery In One Month

Dessert Gallery Bakery and Cafe
Dessert Gallery Bakery and Cafe
Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe (image via Instagram)

Two separate lawsuits alleging anti-LGBTQ discrimination and harassment have been filed against Dessert Gallery Bakery in Houston, Texas.

According to the filings in federal court, Gilbert Johnson, a gay man, and Katherine Phillips, a lesbian woman, say they were terminated based on their sexual orientation.

But last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Attorney and LGBTQ activist Fran Watson, representing both Johnson and Phillips, cited the Bostock decision in her lawsuits.

Johnson, who had worked at the bakery as a general manager, says he began to be treated differently by his supervisor after being on the receiving end of ‘sexualized commentary’ from his supervisor’s husband.

Among his responsibilities was hiring new employees. But according to OutSmart Magazine, Johnson alleges that when his supervisor discovered he had hired a transgender woman, he was no longer allowed to hire employees.

Johnson added that he was “bombarded” with questions regarding the trans employee accessing the restroom.

(image via Instagram/DessertGalleryBakery)

Phillips, who was fired just a day after Johnson, says that she was harassed about her sexuality by co-workers about her sexuality and that eventually had a negative impact on upward mobility within the company.

At one point, Johnson promoted Phillips to shift leader, but just one month later she was demoted. A month after that, she was fired. The next day, Johnson was fired.

But wait – there’s more!

The court filing also says the trans woman was fired shortly after Johnson and Phillips.

“Even the best companies make mistakes, and the bias has to be minimized because you’re impacting and interacting with a diverse workforce,” Watson told OutSmart. “Seeing that three LGBTQ people were fired in a month—and two within a day of each other—shows that inherent bias was present. We want the law to remedy that mistake.”

Dessert Gallery has issued a statement about the dual lawsuits saying they have “always been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and our community.”

“We have a long history of celebrating Pride and partnering with, as well as supporting, Houston’s LGBTQIA+ community,” continued the statement. “We take seriously any allegations like those outlined in these complaints but stand firm that these allegations are simply not true.”

The bakery closed by saying, “We believe the proper place to disclose the facts of this case is in the courtroom and look forward to that opportunity.”

Judge Rejects Bid By Texas Republicans To Throw Out 127K Drive-Thru Ballots

A high school senior was expelled right before the school year for coming out as gay and proud

A high school senior was expelled right before the school year for coming out as gay and proud

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, has rejected a bid by Texas Republicans to throw out 127,000 ballots cast in Harris County (Houston) due to lack of standing.

The Republicans tried to argue that drive-thru sites (which were approved months ago by the Texas Secretary of State) are less secure than in-person polling sites, but Judge Hanen said, “I ain’t buying that.”

If you want to understand why the GOPers wanted the votes tossed – Harris County is 25% Black and 43% Latinx.

Texas Republicans Ask Judge To Throw Out 117K Legally Cast Ballots

Four months ago, the Texas Secretary of State approved drive-thru voting, informing Harris County (we’re talking Houston) election officials that they could use it for the general election.

Now, after over 117,000 voters in the heavily Democratic county have used the process, Texas Republicans have asked a federal judge to declare the practice ‘unconstitutional’ and throw out all of those ballots.

From Mark Joseph Stern at Slate:

Because Texas strictly limits mail-in voting, Harris County—which has a population of over 4.7 million people—has sought to make in-person voting safer during the pandemic. Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, who runs the county’s elections, established 10 drive-thru voting locations for the 2020 general election.

Drivers pull into a large tent, where election officials confirm their identity, then give them privacy to vote. The process has proved wildly popular.

Harris County raised the idea of drive-thru voting in June, and Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs promptly approved it. The county tested it in July and approved it in August. Yet Republicans did not contest drive-thru voting in court until Oct. 15, two days after the start of early voting.

On that day, the Harris County Republican Party, joined by several GOP operatives, asked the Texas Supreme Court to halt drive-thru voting. The court, which is entirely Republican, refused, over a single dissent.

So Republicans ran to federal court. On Wednesday, they asked U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to declare drive-thru voting unconstitutional and void every ballot cast this way.

Judge Hanen has scheduled an emergency hearing on Monday.

Over 117,000 Texans cast their votes via drive-thru venues because it was approved. Now, Texas Republicans want those votes thrown out a day before the election?

Armed Protester Barges Into Public Library To Disrupt Drag Queen Storytime

James ‘Doc’ Greene Sr.

A protester armed with a gun barged into a Houston public library this past weekend in an attempt to disrupt Drag Queen Storytime.

James ‘Doc’ Greene Sr., who was previously issued a trespassing warning by the Houston Public Library for similar protests, entered the Freed-Montrose Library on Saturday at 1:45 p.m., just minutes before the monthly story time event.

When Greene refused to leave, library management called the police for help.

A spokesperson for the Houston Police Department told Outsmart Magazine, “A manager asked us for assistance because [Greene] was banned from the library, and would not leave when he was asked.”

“He was previously banned for filming children at the library, and has been known to cause disturbances,” she added. “Several officers had to escort him out.”

Greene, a conservative radio host for Raging Elephants Radio, was disarmed by the police, put in handcuffs, and placed in a police car. At that point, he began to complain of chest pains.

An ambulance was called and Greene was transported to a local hospital. The District Attorney declined to press charges.

At some point after the police arrived, Greene began recording the incident. He posted part of the video to YouTube where you can see he questions why he was being ejected from the library.

“How am I trespassing?” asks Greene in the video. “I want the law, I want to see the law. How many cops does it take to tell me what the law is?”

“You were given a trespass warning,” an officer responds. “They have requested you to not be on the property anymore.”

After several minutes of citing his status as a taxpayer and “member of the press,” at the 4:10 mark, Greene is shown the trespass affidavit but he disregards it.

The police then escort him out of the building where he declares for the camera, “We have a bunch of homosexuals that are molesting children, and they are doing it with your help.”

Organizers of Drag Queen Storytime say protesters are nothing new for the event, which features drag queens reading to children and their parents to encourage imagination and creativity.

On January 3, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal dismissed a lawsuit by anti-LGBTQ activists who were attempting to stop the events.

Drag Queen Storytime has become so popular it was recently announced that there will be additional readings added to the schedule.

“Toothless Racist” Apologizes For Traffic Rant Claiming Bi-Polar Condition

Charles Geier

Janet Sabriu was driving to her polling station in Houston last week when an angry, middle-aged gay Trump supporter pulled alongside her at a traffic light and began spewing racist, misogynistic slurs.

“You’re driving in two lanes, you stupid b*tch!” the man screams. “That’s not how we drive in America. Trump’s deporting your stupid cousins today, b*tch!”

Somehow, Sabriu, an American citizen, remained calm and asked the man if he had voted yet.

“B*tch – learn English, b*tch,” the man continued. “It’s my country, b*tch, get out!”

“You’re ugly, you need a gay friend to help you with makeup and clothes,” he continued as Sabriu’s young daughter sat in the backseat listening to his tirade. “Ugly b*tch – ugly tacky stinky skanky b*tch!”

Throughout the incident the racist laughed with a cackle that you would expect to hear coming from the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.

Watch below.

This being 2018, the hideous man (dubbed the “toothless racist” on Twitter) was quickly identified by social media users as Charles Geier, a 58-year-old gay man.

Sabriu told local news station KHOU that she has filed a police report against Geier.

“We have to stop all of this hate,” Sabriu told the station. “Speak up. Don’t be afraid. That’s the only way that we can stop all this hate is just showing and exposing the people because I think the majority [are] good people that don’t want this to continue.”

According to a new study released by Pew Research Center last week, nearly four-in-ten Latinos have experienced harassing incidents since the Trump administration launched a tougher stance on immigration enforcement.

On Saturday, Geier spoke to local ABC News affiliate KTRK using the name “Kevin” saying he’s ‘received death threats.’

Geier apologized saying, “All I want to say to her is ‘Miss, I’m so sorry, I hope you can understand more and I wish you nothing more than love and happiness for your family.”

Geier told KTRK that he takes full responsibility, “I reacted in a poor manner, I said things that were offensive that I shouldn’t have said, but what I want people to know is that I suffer from bi-polar disorder. It’s very real, it’s not a joke, it’s not an excuse.”

And speaking of excuses, Twitter had no patience for Geier and his hate.

Houston Man Attacked/Beaten Walking Home From Bar

Christopher Bradford

A gay man was violently beaten by a group of attackers as he walked home from a bar in the Montrose area of Houston.

Seconds before the brutal beating, Christopher Bradford says he remembers hearing footsteps running behind him.

From ABC13:

“Someone grabbed me from behind (and) threw me to the ground,” Bradford said. “I was getting punched, kicked, and then, belt buckles we’re flying at me.”

Bradford said the attacker used the buckle end of a belt to hit him while he was down.

“Got me across the side of my head and I got four metal staples. They hit me with a rock in the forehead,” he said.

Bradford said many people were around, but no one helped. He was on the phone with a friend when the beating started and that friend drove up, scaring the attackers off.

“There was blood everywhere. It was in my eyes. I couldn’t see,” he said.

He believed the attackers targeted him because he’s gay.

“I kept asking why. I was like, ‘What did I do? Why are you hitting me?'”

Caleb Tout (mugshot)

The suspect, Caleb Tout, 19, was later arrested. He reportedly told officers he was drinking and beat Bradford because he was looking for someone else who allegedly exposed themselves to Tout’s girlfriend.

“You really don’t know the intention behind it. One of them was laughing. They were getting amusement out of this,” Bradford said.

Bradford says coming out of this incident, he’s learned a lesson he’ll never forget.

“I will never walk home alone. That’s never going to happen again,” he said.

Podcast: SCOTUS Refuses Houston Same-Sex Marriage Benefits Review; “Call Me By Your Name” Racks Up More Awards; Tom Goss Has A Musical Message For Christmas

In this week’s podcast:

• The US Supreme Court denied the city of Houston’s request to review a court decision saying marriage equality doesn’t mean equal benefits.

• Bermuda is the first nation to legalize then repeal marriage equality.

• Gay coming of age movie “Call Me By Your Name” continues to rack up awards and nominations

• My suggestions for end of the year charitable donations.

• New music from Tom Goss “Gay Christmas”

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Houston Challenges Texas Supreme Court Over Same-Sex Spousal Benefits

Earlier this summer the Texas Supreme Court ruled in Pidgeon v. Parker that the Obergefell decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, which legally recognized same-sex marriages, did not determine whether gay couples are entitled to the same spousal benefits of opposite-sex married couples.

The city of Houston, however, says the 2015 landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges did conclude that any rights/benefits attached to marriage must be equally provided to all married couples, straight or gay.

So, Houston has filed a petition asking SCOTUS to review the state court’s ruling and determine once and for all the constitutional rights guaranteed under Obergefell.

For now, the city of Houston will continue to provide spousal benefits to all married city employees.

(source)

How You Can Help Houston After Hurricane Harvey

The Montrose Center, Houston’s LGBTQ counseling and community center serving more than 35,000 LGBT clients with its programs, is hoping to raise $100,000 to provide food and housing, particularly for the many homeless LGBT youth who use its resources.

From the campaign:

The LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help individuals and families begin to rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more. The Center’s dedicated case management team is on call to help homeless youth, seniors, people living with HIV, hate crime survivors, and those devastated by the storm.

While the Montrose Center will focus primarily on empowering the LGBTQ community to rebuild after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, we serve all people in need regardless of their sexuality.

Click here to donate.

SNL Slaps Down Houston’s Anti-LGBT Rights Activists

Via HRC Blog:

Last night, Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update took on the recent vote on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

HERO aimed to protect 15 classes — — from LGBT people to women to veterans — from discrimination. In the lead up to November 3, anti-LGBT organizations launch a fear-mongering campaign that painted a categorically incorrect picture of women in men’s bathrooms.

Actor Pete Davidson called out the anti-LGBT campaign with this great line:

“So the theory is that guys, in their relentless quest to watch women go to the bathroom, are going through years of hormones, surgery, changing their names, their wardrobe, coming out to their families, all for that big payoff of peeing in a room without urinals. What is this fantasy that they think is going on in there?”