It wasn’t the 22nd birthday celebration Summer Gibbons expected, as her special day was ruined because of an ice cream cake.
“Having that feeling of not be welcomed for being who I am and that not being okay,” Summer said.
“I was blown away.”
Summer and her sister Gracie went through the drive thru at Dairy Queen in Cochrane. They ordered an ice cream cake asking for the message “Happy Birthday Lesbian” be written on it. But her request was denied.
The lady at first said it was fine but then there was silence.
“Her supervisor told her it was family establishment and they can’t put that on a cake for other families to see,” Summer told Global News.
Her family followed up with the owner.
“He said it’s policy because it was sexual in nature to put on a cake,” Summer said.
The incident had an impact on her friends and family who just wanted Summer to feel celebrated.
“It was upsetting watching her feel that especially on her birthday and I was worried about her,” her sister Gracie said. “She felt embarrassed and ashamed and she should never have to feel that for who she is.”
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“It was hurtful and rude,” Gracie said. “Nobody could write ‘lesbian’? It’s not a bad word. We shouldn’t be hiding it from people.”
“I’ve known I was gay since grade seven and came out two years ago and it’s definitely something I was always worried about happening,” Summer said.
Summer’s friends and roommate Liam Armsworthy was in disbelief.
“I’m a gay man and to know there’s all that aggression and attack towards the gay community, it opens my eyes; this stuff still happens,” Armsworthy said.
“It’s 2021. It shouldn’t be happening. We are all equal and it hurt.
“I only came out to my grandparents a year ago and I struggled with it. It’s about being comfortable with who you are and this makes me not comfortable because of fear of judgement and rejection.”
The franchise owner of the Dairy Queen restaurant in Cochrane, Tim Morrison, said there is no place for discrimination in his restaurant.
“Our intent is to create custom cakes that are inclusive and nondiscriminatory, which is why we have a policy that custom cake orders only can include inclusive and nondiscriminatory language. After talking with fans and employees, I acknowledge we did not properly follow our policy,” Morrison said.
“I am truly sorry for the harm we caused. I will be retraining the team on custom cake orders.”
Summer said she accepts the apology and isn’t looking to vilify the owner.
“He knows what he said was wrong. We are all human and make mistakes,” Summer said. “I respect his apology, maybe he can get retrained himself.”
Summer did end up ordering the cake she wanted from a different Dairy Queen location with no issues at all.