Jul 302015

Business owner moved to tears by outpouring of support after she stood up for LGBT rightsThere is a straight Greek restaurant owner named Gracie.   This incredible woman had the “grace” that comes with a deep spirituality to stand up for the LGBTI community.  Like so many good people, Gracie feels for minorities.  She grew up in Greece where she experienced intolerance and bigotry.  She wanted a fresh start and migrated to the USA.  People who are spiritually tolerant know that each person does an Earthwalk and it is important that we love and respect each other on this walk of life.  I am looking at her holding this innocent baby.  Like so many infants, we know that  the majority will be heterosexual, but others will be bi,  transgendered, lesbian or gay. (And other categories).  We have only to go to the webpages of psychiatric and psychological organizations world-wide to read that “homosexuality is not a perversion and that since it cannot be reversed, it is NOT a choice.”   Read on about this wonderful woman and the people who supported her and her non-discrimination business.  paula.

Somethings happen in life for teaching purposes.  A woman posted a message on La Crosse Foodie Facebook asking for places to eat in La Crosse, Wisconsin.   Despina Kozdis (Gracie) owns Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps on Campbell Road.  Gracie responded with the above rainbow picture of herself and her baby daughter.

Enter the Teabag Bigot

‘Hi Despina. I saw your post on La Crosse Foodie. I love gyros, but I detest people with rainbow filters on their picture. It’s an abomination that we are being forced to condone deviant sexual behavior. I will NOT be visiting your restaurant, I’m sorry.’   ******

Gracie was shocked.  She phoned her daughter, Sofia, for advice.

‘She was freaking out,’ Sophia told the La Crosse Tribune.  Her mother had experienced intolerance and bigotry while growing up in Greece but had not expected to encounter the same in the U.S.

‘The culture that she’s grown up in is sometimes not very accepting, but in coming to the U.S., being a single mother, having a business, she’s learning every day how to be a part of the community, how to be accepting.’  (Oh, NO – a single mother -Greg  Luce you missed this opportunity to be unChristian)

Mother and daughter thought long about what to do, before deciding that they didn’t think a customer with views such as those voiced by Luce would be welcome at their establishment. So, Gracie answered with the following message.

Facebook exchange

‘That’s great! We prefer to have accepting, coexisting consumers. It seems we have come to an agreement that it is best for both parties that you do not visit my business. Thank you.’

Sofia took a screenshot of the exchange. She redacted Luce’s surname, and posted the image to her own Facebook page and also to the La Crosse Foodie page. Luce labeled the posting as ‘inappropriate’, and removed his comment. The La Crosse Foodie page was also subsequently closed down.

People Rally for Justice

Any fears Gracie may have had that her stance would lead to negative recriminations against her business were quickly dispelled. She received message of support on both her own Facebook page and the page of Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps.

After the end of business on Saturday, the following message was posted on the Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps page:

‘We want to thank each and every single person who commented, sent well wishes and love and traveled to come and see Gracie at the restaurant today.

‘We were not prepared for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support. So, if you did not get served as quickly as we would have wanted to serve you, please accept our deepest apologies!

‘Come back and we now know how to handle this.

Tears of Joy

‘This was completely unexpected and very much appreciated. Gracie, at one point, had to go into the kitchen and cry from the level of attendance and show of support.

You will never know just how much this means to her and her family. So please, accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience that may have been caused today. We love you. We want to see you again. We are closed tomorrow but Monday will bring a new day and better preparations for all the love coming our way!’

Another posting simply said: ‘At Gracie’s we love everyone. Food does not show discrimination; food does not judge and everyone is welcome under a roof of love here!’


A spokesperson for 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection, stated:

‘Gracie’s has worked to keep their doors open through some lean times,’ said Executive Director, Jackson Jantzen.

‘It makes her willingness to make the exchange and her position as a welcoming and inclusive business member a more powerful gesture.

‘We are so grateful to see such a large number of our community rally around her with appreciation. It’s a powerful moment in time for our community here in the rural Midwest region our organization serves.’

*****paula’s final comment:  Greg Luce is a disgrace to Christ.  He needs to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan where a lawyer asked Jesus how to enter the Kingdom. “Love God, Love your Neighbor and Love yourself” was the answer.  Now the lawyer like Luce, was reluctant to love “everyone.”  He asked “Who is my neighbour?”   Jesus knew that the lawyer (as a Jew) considered Samaritans to be unclean and sinful.  If Luce reads the parable, he will see that Jesus chose the Samaritan to be the hero of the story.  He puts the Samaritan above the two religious leaders who had not love for the dying man in the story.  *****  Get the message Greg Luce?

  2 Responses to “Gracie -Greek Restaurant Owner: NO! to Homophobe Greg Luce”

  1. Gracie’s Gyros and Wraps in La Crosse, WI has always been known for the delicious traditional Greek food that it offers Though last week Gracie’s was being discussed around the world because of the owner, Despina Kozidis, shared a private message on her Facebook, and now that message has been traveling the world, judging by the comments and congratulations Gracie’s has been receiving.
    Despina and her daughter Sofia have always been welcoming to all members of our community, as their response to Greg Luce’s hate mail showed everyone where they stand. If you ever get in the neighborhood I would recommend that you stop in and check out the food. I must admit that Gracie’s has the best baklava I have ever eaten. Be sure to check out Gracie’s Facebook page for all her specials.
    Come and join us August 4th at the event Spread the Love and Good Food for Gracie’s

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