By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
Lonesome’s Pizza, a downtown Portland shop, has removed a menu item that caused community members to accuse the business of transphobia and has apologized for any offense it may have caused.
The menu, which is full of unconventional names like “Hasselhoff vs. velcro headboard restraints,” had described the restaurant’s breadsticks as “tranny stix” and accompanied it with an image of co-owner Nic Reddy (aka Nik Sin) dressed in drag.
After the blog Transadvocate drew attention to the menu last night via a Facebook post, complaints started filling up the “recommendations” section of Lonesome’s Facebook page, calling the menu name inappropriate, offensive, and ignorant.
“‘Tranny’ breadsticks?? Not cool, not funny. In fact, its quite degrading to transgender people and those who support us, many of whom patronize your establishment. Or used to anyway,” wrote Jose Miguel.
Reddy heard the message loud and clear. After spending the morning discussing it with his co-owner Noah Antieau, they decided to remove the name now and replace with “some other sophomoric, hopefully inoffensive name.”
“The absolute last thing we ever want to do is upset somebody who’s already got a rough road. The idea of doing that makes us all feel pretty horrible. So, if you’re transgender, we’re all apologies,” Reddy told PQ. “Christ, both me and Noah (I’m 3-foot-6 and he’s 7 feet tall) have been listening to shit our whole lives, and to think that we’re heaping it on to somebody who deals with exponentially more shit on a daily basis makes us both feel like dicks.”
He added that they hesitated somewhat out of concern that they would be placating “a small, but loud minority of folks who are in a constant search for platforms for there own sanctimony,” but ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth keeping the name if it was hurting someone.
“The chance that we might be hurting somebody’s feelings that surely doesn’t have it coming is a deal-breaker. If you’re an outlier, if you’re anywhere near feeling like you’re on the margins, we really want your business. You’re why we dig — and identify with — this town,” Reddy said. “What’s most important to get across is that we really are sorry to all the transgender community. We’re a little slow on the uptake, no question, but we’re learning.”