Publix Wouldn't Write Pro-Trans Message on Cake

Grocery store reps have since apologized over incident at Orlando-area bakery
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2023 7:21 AM CDT
Publix Sorry for Refusing Pro-Trans Message on Cake
A Publix market in Bradenton, Florida, on March 4.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Having a message written on a cake at a Publix bakery doesn't typically make national headlines. Two representatives of a nonprofit advocacy group, however, say a day that should have been filled with joy was soured by a refusal to honor the wording they asked for at an Orlando-area store. Yasmin Flasterstein tells the Orlando Weekly that she and Dandelion Hill, co-founders of Peer Support Space, an advocacy group for marginalized communities, swung by the bakery section of a Publix in the Colonialtown neighborhood on April 26 to pick up a sheet cake for a "Spread Trans Joy" volunteer event at the nearby Mexican Consulate. Their request to bakery staff: to write in icing "Trans people deserve joy" on the cake. Flasterstein says the bakery worker that was helping them balked.

A bakery manager subsequently informed them the message "was taking a stance, and that they weren't allowed to take a stance on stuff like that," says Flasterstein. "We very politely pleaded, literal tears in our eyes," she wrote in a May 2 Facebook post. "They refused." Flasterstein says the bakery instead offered to write "People deserve joy" on the cake—leaving room and extra icing so they could finish out the message. The bakery manager told them they weren't allowed to write messages like "Black lives matter," either. A conversation with the store's general manager also went nowhere, and so Flasterstein piped the message onto the cake herself in the parking lot.

Now, however, the two are speaking out. "Proclaiming that Trans people deserve joy is a divisive stance? It's literally NOT controversial," Hill wrote in a similar Facebook post, calling the incident "deplorable," per the Washington Post. Flasterstein says as word of what occurred went viral, two separate Publix reps reached out with apologies and said that shouldn't have happened. "Our policy indicates that our associates may write statements that are not copyrighted or trademarked, support a charitable cause, are factual and considered to have a positive connotation," the company says in a statement. "Our associates should have fulfilled your request." Flasterstein, meanwhile, says she and Hill weren't trying to get anyone in trouble, but that this kind of thing can't happen again. "We demand that you do better," she wrote in a follow-up letter to Publix, per Orlando Weekly. (More Publix stories.)

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