A yellow ribbon cost me my job

By MiChelle

Dear friends,

I don't know how much you really know me but I am a strong willed person.

Today, I lost my job at McDonald's in Jacksonville, TX 'cause I chose to stand for something and keep my feet planted in my belief. Today I wore a yellow ribbon on my shirt to work in memory of Matthew Shepard who was a young gay male beaten and left tied to a fencepost to die in Wyoming. A life cut short by violence and ignorance, a life that had potential.

I went to work for the first time today since Matthew's death and I wore a yellow ribbon over my heart in memory of him and those who have died of needless vio-lence involving race, sexual orientation or other hate reasons. Mainly the reason today was the death of Matthew, a crime of hate of one's sexual orientation.

I was at the store a hour before work, sat at a table, drank a Coke and filled out some medical paperwork for a impending operation. At 11 am I clocked in with my ribbon on my shirt and my gay pride rings on. For those of you who are not aware of my sexual orientation I am bisexual. I did some work in the front of the store and I went into the back window to work my scheduled shift.

About 15 minutes into my shift I was approached by my stores owner, Larry (last name deleted by Oasis) and asked why I was wearing a yellow ribbon on my shirt. I told him it was in memory of the slain gay youth from Wyoming -- Matthew Shepard. He began to tell me how he supported my wearing the simple yellow ribbon so commonly used for death and peace. Then he proceeded in asking me to remove the ribbon which laid on my heart like a small bandage guarding a wound. I made it clear I was not removing it and he made it clear to me it would not be worn in his store. He asked how I would feel if someone wore a Malcolm X ribbon in, I told him that it would not bother me. I took my belt pack and headset off and handed it to him and stated I would leave if my ribbon was a problem and walked away. He told me if I walked out on a shift I was jobless but in my heart I felt it was the best choice I could make.

Maybe my choice was brash but someone has to take a stand...I have constructed a small webpage in honor of Matthew ( http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/8807/ )and I would appreci-ate it if you stopped by and read my prayers to his family and friends, to our soci-ety and to the Christian Coalition. Please post comments as to my decision and keep in me in your thoughts as I search for a new job where people care about oth-ers and not just how they look.

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