Hello, My Name Is NOT "Gaytard." How May I Help You?

I've been out to my family and friends since I was in the 5th grade. I'm not ashamed of being gay, and I don't hide who I am from anyone.

After school ended last semester, I wanted to find a summer job for the usual teenage reasons: spending money for clothes, a cell phone, going out with friends, and maybe even save up a little too. I applied for a crew member position at the Taco John's in my town – Yankton, South Dakota – in early June, interviewed the next day, and started working the night shift the day after that.

I hadn't been working at Taco John's long before the night manager was saying things about me to other employees behind my back, calling me "faggot" and saying things like, "Tyler is so gay it's not even funny."

About three weeks after I'd started working there, the night manager called me into the office and handed me a name tag he'd just made. He said, "Wear this!" with a huge grin on his face like he was really proud of himself. I looked at the name tag and saw that it read "Gaytard" with little hearts on either side of the word. My mom raised me to be respectful and polite, and I didn't want to lose my job. So I put the name tag on and then said, "Okay, can I take it off now?" He just laughed at me and told me to leave it on.

He made me wear that embarrassing name tag all night.

Every time I had to help a customer, I tried to stand so that it was hidden by the register. But that didn't really make much difference because the manager kept calling me "gaytard" really loudly in front of customers for the rest of my shift: "Hey, gaytard, help this customer!" and "Take out the trash, gaytard!" It was extremely humiliating.

After I got home, I decided I just couldn't go back for more abuse at Taco John's. I want my little brothers and sisters to look up to me and know that I stood up for myself. So I went to the restaurant the next morning, turned in my uniform, and told the daytime manager why I was quitting. He tried to make me give the name tag back, but I told him I was keeping it.

After I started telling my story publicly, Taco John's International put out a statement saying they take harassment in their restaurants seriously, but they said it was up to the local franchise in Yankton to do something about the humiliation I faced. Well, all the local franchise did about it was say that the name tag was my idea and that I thought it was funny.

It wasn't my idea, and I never thought it was funny. It's a mean, ugly word that makes fun of both gay people and people with developmental disabilities, and I would never call myself a name like that.

That's why today, the American Civil Liberties Union is helping me file formal charges of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

It was wrong for the manager to humiliate me like that, and it was wrong for Taco John's International to refuse to do anything about what happened at a restaurant with their name. I want other LGBT people to know that this type of harassment is illegal, even in places like South Dakota. And I hope we can make sure nobody who works at any Taco John's ever has to go through that kind of humiliation at work again.

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Right wing and ...

I don't even understand how they would get away with doing this, so why would they even think of doing it?
Then why would they ACTUALLY do it?
I don't get what's wrong with people. I totally don't understand it. Most people do NOT do things that if caught will deliberately ruin their business.

I can't say I'm Liberal because I agree with the death penalty when the proper conditions apply to it and I could never get an abortion for myself and dislike the idea of paying for one just because a person got drunk, became pregnant and now wants someone else to pay for their mistake.

So I became a Republican for Obama, a group that started in Chicago that I found online. But I'm mostly embarrassed by extreme conservatives, especially their disgusting comments about black people on posts about Ferguson.
But I never thought they would do things that would hurt themSELVES more than the person they're hating if their sins found them out.

Go figure. I can't comprehend them.

Anonymous

Being South Dakota it does not surprise me.
Never have heard of Taco Johns.
I don't do fast food and never will.
Maybe this corporation needs to stand up
and be accountable for it's franchises.
I would comment more but I don't want
to be arrested.

Tony D.

I hope this young man owns the franchise after this incident. If that brand ever comes around here, Ill be sure to tell everyone I know what they stand for.

Anonymous

#HisNameIsTyler

Straight Larry

I suppose I could call the night manager a neanderthal, but that would be insulting to neanderthals. Can you give us some idea of any other restaurants that the franchise company owns? I sometimes travel in that area and would not want to eat there by mistake.

Anonymous

I wonder how they choose to whom they're even going to give help. Or is it like insurance, it's a numbers game and they choose the person who's going to make them LOOK the best when they agree to take the case?

I've asked for help from local sources several times before now and every single time I've been sent a letter of rejection saying (when you read beTWEEN the lines of course) that I'm not pathetic enough, or sufficiently downtrodden enough, or enough of a case that will make them look good to the public to accept my request for aid.

I guess I don't have enough brains in my head to wear something like that at work. I never would have thought that any job was worth it and never would have done it. After all the job in question is a low-PAYing one. There are hundreds of them like that one, and I would have gotten a different job before working with BLATANTLY disgusting people.
And when they get to their final place for Judgment, God's going to say he never knew them.

Anonymous

Taco Johns is pretty good. Getting joked on at work is part of the job. I agree that insulting the developmentally delayed is wrong.

Father of a chi...

So, this is abhorrent. Not only is this an issue of bullying, LGBT rights, it is also discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. "-tard", as you know is short for retard, which is in turn short for retardation. A medical description of those who have intellectual disabilities and has been hijacked as a pejorative to demean an belittle in our society and especially by those who are young, or lack the education or compassion to know better.

F-cktard, asstard, retard, retarded, GAYtard, all of which are disgusting acts of hate towards those who have intellectual disabilities.

Anonymous

Getting "joked on" is part of work, Anonymous #7, and part of life too. Part of give and take and building rapport by laughing at our similarities and differences. But when one person or class of people are singled-out, coerced to do something humiliating, making their workplace hostile, that's beyond joking. Enjoy your tacos -- that's your right to have your own opinion and vote with your feet, even though what you're "voting" for -- allowing discrimination --is repugnant to me. But it's also the right of Tyler to work in an environment free of harassment.

RRR

The ACLU has not found the time to comment on the IRS attacks on conservatives for the last two years!
But yet they find the time to write about a TACO JOHN NAME TAG!!!
Really!
Great job of speaking up for ALL the people.

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