We've updated this story with comments from Horne.
Homophobia, despite progress toward equality, unfortunately remains alive and rampant. A gay cafe owner in Cairns, Australia, named Jay Horne posted his tale of prejudice (and how gracefully he handled it) on Facebook, and it's since gone viral.
🤔 I'm curious... 🤔
Do you think you are going to turn gay (if you're not already) if you eat and drink at a gay owned...
In the post shared on March 16, Horne explains that a couple who frequent his restaurant, Paradiso Cairns, recently decided not to return after discovering it was gay owned and operated. "Do you think you are going to turn gay (if you're not already) if you eat and drink at a gay owned and operated cafe?" Horne hilariously asked in the post.
"One of our regular 'straight' couples have stopped frequenting our cafe because we are gay owned and operated and they had no idea," he went on to detail. "All I can say is . . . their loss!"
POPSUGAR spoke to Horne about the experience and community response via Facebook messenger. "I don't want the world to think that Cairns is a homophobic city, as it's definitely not," Horne said. "I have been living here for eight years and proudly promote the Cairns region as an LGBT hot spot to both national and international travelers."
Horne told us that he's witnessed an outpouring of support from the community in Cairns following his post. "One gentleman came in on Saturday who was so thankful that he broke down in tears," Horne wrote. "Another couple who sat in the cafe in hope the old regulars would walk by so they could confront them. I know I don't stand alone."
He also added that using his profile to fight homophobia is important. "Cairns has one of the highest if not the highest youth suicide rate in Australia, which is often related to fear of not being accepted in the community as being gay," Horne said. "If I have helped one person or saved one person from taking their own life through sharing my experience, I am happy [sic]."
While incidents like this are widely reported in the United States, Horne's experience demonstrates that homophobia is an international issue. It's also an applaudable instance of responding to intolerance with dignity and a dash of humor.