Anthony Bourdain Showed Us All What It Means to Be an LGBT Ally
This morning, celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France. Authorities say he committed suicide. Though he was a straight man, we remember him as a fierce ally for both the LGBTQ community and women’s rights.
In Anthony Bourdain’s breakout 2000 book Kitchen Confidential, he described the homophobic, misogynist culture in the kitchens of many of the best restaurants. Though at the time he defended it, last year he spoke out, saying he regretted being comfortable with that kind of behavior and language.
While, admittedly, the Anthony Bourdain of 2000 could have been more sensitive, he learned and grew as a person, as we all must. And he did a lot of work to atone for the sins of his past. He was one of the first supporters of the Human Rights Campaign’s “Chefs for Equality” amicus brief in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court case. In 2014 he worked with the HRC on its “Americans for Marriage Equality” campaign, recording the below heartfelt video.
The year before that, Anthony Bourdain was a poster-boy for the HRC’s Sochi Olympics campaign, modeling the Russian version of their Love Conquers Hate shirt while calling for his fans to “Irritate Russia & the Olympics for LGBT equality.”
In a series of tweets this morning, the HRC paid tribute to Bourdain. The organization wrote, “HRC is incredibly saddened to learn of the death of chef Anthony Bourdain. He was an extraordinary person who was committed to equality and expanding understanding and acceptance among all people. Bourdain was an early supporter of HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign and was one of the first to join our ‘Chefs for Equality’ amicus brief, urging the Supreme Court to keep businesses open to all in the recent Masterpiece case. HRC’s deepest condolences go out to his friends, family and loved ones at this difficult time.”
Other people to pay tribute to Anthony Bourdain include Antoni Porowski of Queer Eye: