The Queer Issue

Kale Boycott

The Queer Issue

IN NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts, seven years before The National Enquirer would brand it "Lesbianville USA," it seemed feasible to me and my cohort of homo tadpoles that there just might be a monolithic Lesbian Culture, and that we would be pretty darned good lesbians if we learned all the right things to do and not to do. One of the quickest ways to be a Very Good Lesbian was to observe all the right boycotts.

Many years later, I'm still not eating tuna, buying grapes, using GE light bulbs, or snackin' on Nestle's chocolate bars. But, personally, the easiest boycott for me to observe has been the one on organic kale. I hate kale. So under the guise of observance of a sacred lesbian tradition, I get to be holier than thou and kale-free in one fell swoop.

I don't wear buttons now, so my "No Scale? No Kale!" pin is in a little box with my pink triangles, but to this day I still won't buy it. Organic growers still pay workers (who are often lesbians) less to harvest kale than any other leaf crop, despite years of protest. Besides, I know women who've worked as packers, and know for a fact that they lick the leaves and spit in random boxes.

Will the kale boycott survive? I don't think so. As coming out becomes less traumatic and less about utter difference, young lesbians' need for support and approval from lesbian elders will wane. Mandatory lefty indoctrination will no longer be a near-universal rite de passage. The dinner party for your boss and her husband is the perfect opportunity to try that recipe for kale frisee.

But wash the kale before you cook it.


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