A cafe owner in Cairns, ACT has hit back after receiving criticism and losing customers and staff members after coming out as gay.
Jay Horne, who co-owns Paradiso Cafe, told his local news paper, Tropic Now, that it was “very difficult to comprehend” that two customers, who still walk past the cafe but refuse to acknowledge them, would stop coming in after realising his sexual orientation, “As the owner of a café, I've never before experienced anything like this”.
Horne also runs a queer-oriented publication called FNQ Magazine, one of the few for the gay community in Cairns, also commented that is ‘shaken by the homophobia he has been shown in this situation’, further saying,
“If we had bad customer service or our food was poor, I could understand… But to voice the fact that we're gay-owned and operated as being their reason is so hard to understand,
"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, he continued.
"You cannot catch being gay. And I do find it offensive that people do have that belief”.
Horne is an active member of the gay community in Cairns and received many positive comments after posting his story on Facebook.