A café owner in Queensland has told Tropic Now that he’s lost regular customers after they found out he and his staff members are gay.
Jay Horne is the co-owner of Paradiso Café in Cairns and said he’s finding the situation "very difficult to comprehend.”
Horne said a couple who were once loyal customers had a conversation letting him know that they would no longer patronise the café “because we’re a gay-owned business.”
“They still walk past every single day but now they refuse to acknowledge us," said Horne. “As the owner of a café, I’ve never before experienced anything like this."
Horne—who is also the publisher of FNQ Magazine—says it’s unfortunate that the gay community continues to face discrimination in 2017.
“One of the issues the gay community has faced over the last 20-25 years is that there are stigmas attached to our sexuality, for example, the belief that HIV AIDS was a gay disease.
“The only thing I could really think was 'okay, maybe these people think that we have a disease or a virus that they were going to contract through our café', or that they believed that if we touched them, they would end up gay.
“You cannot catch being gay. And I do find it offensive that people do have that belief.”
Horne said he could understand if the customers had experienced poor service or food but that the boycott came down to homophobia.
Horne posted about the incident on Facebook and has received hundreds of messages from people pledging their support to the café.