Equality Alabama staged a takeover of Full Moon Bar-B-Que in Hoover yesterday evening, filling the restaurant with pro-equality supporters. A crowd approaching 100 LGBT persons joined several other patrons in enjoying good barbecue and other treats from the extensive menu (the side item of the day was fried okra).
Equality Alabama’s purpose in such a takeover is to create safe and welcoming places so all customers can enjoy their meal. EA takeovers are simple evenings when LGBT folk and their friends gather in large numbers at unexpected places. There are no protests and no problems; just high visibility to announce they're here and are a force (economic and otherwise) to be recognized.
Hundreds of dollars in “gay money” was exchanged as members of the gay community lined up to place their orders. The management of Full Moon seemed taken back a bit by the unexpected full parking lot and dining area, but when the flat screen televisions changed from Fox News to Logo and RuPaul’s Drag Race Equality Alabama members knew that he was appreciative, if mystified, at what was happening.
LGBT patrons experienced, some for the first time, being majority status in a mainstream venue, and some were heard discussing whether the other patrons realized they were part of the minority for a change.
One patron commented that she loves this type of visibility and that the meal was great, and many urged EA to follow up with similar events at other restaurants. An EA board member assured the crowd that other events are in the planning stage, and that a larger parking lot would be one of the considerations in the selection of future venues, as indications are that some potential participants were turned away because of lack of parking.
Equality Alabama’s takeover of a barbecue joint turned out to be a success, both for the organization and for the restaurant. This was a win-win for everyone.