A high school in Chicago issued a statement to parents showing support for their LGBTQ students after a male couple was allegedly kicked out of a local restaurant for sharing a hug.
The couple — Kendall Anderson, a junior at Lane Tech High School, and his boyfriend Peder Sevig — claims a worker at Big Boy Gyros, located across the street from the school, told them "We can't have two guys hugging in here," and that their "kind" was not welcome, they told CBS Chicago.
They young men were at the restaurant with their friends, some also LGBTQ, when they "shared an innocent hug," according to sophomore Jolie Mahr, who wrote about the incident on Instagram.
Further, Anderson added about the employee who chased them out that “he said something to the effect of if it was a guy and a girl it would be okay, but we can't allow two boys.”
The group of teens was stunned by the comment and picked up their bags to leave, but the employee continued.
"Right before we left he said, 'Get out. We don't want your kind here, anyway,' and that was that," Anderson told the outlet.
Dana Kozlov, with CBS 2, attempted to interview the employee identified by the students, but he said he was just a customer. Another employee told the station to turn off their cameras.
Despite occurring off-campus, Lane Tech's administration addressed the incident through an email to parents that read, "Earlier today we were informed of an incident involving some of our students at Big Boy Gyros, 3541 N Western Ave. An innocent display of affection was shared by two young students which prompted a restaurant staff member to shout homophobic phrases at our students. When our students proceeded to leave, he made it a point to share that 'they' (LGBT+) were not welcomed.
"As a school, we are disheartened because our students were treated with disrespect and made to feel unwelcome. As a community, we stand strong and we want to make it clear that Lane Tech does not stand for discrimination of any kind. We will not tolerate hatred and will not support an organization that promotes hatred of any kind. We support any students, staff and community members that choose to not support Big Boy Gyros. This incident will be addressed in person by Lane Tech's administration and any questions or concerns can be sent to Gabriela Escobar at Gbescobar@cps.edu."
Students appreciated the statement. "To understand that my school respects and values students like me and like my friends is very important," Mahr told CBS.
While many on Mahr's Instagram post are calling for a boycott, she does not want to see the restaurant shut down, but she does want the homophobic behavior to be acknowledged. She told Book Club Chicago that the employee's actions on Monday still have her friends feeling shaken.
"They're still hurt and shocked," she said. "It's a very hard thing, especially since one of them only recently came out, to have to face something for the first time."
Representatives for Lane Tech did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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