Lesbian Discount Causes Uproar

A shop owner who offers discounts to lesbian moms receives threatening phone calls

Ever heard the one about the two lesbian moms who walk into a maternity store? Well, Karen Paperno is the owner of Boing Boing, a maternity store in the trendy Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn that has increasingly become a haven for same-sex parents in New York. But ever since Paperno started offering 10 percent discounts to lesbian moms at her 15-year-old Sixth Avenue shop about a month ago, she’s been causing a stir.

She admitted to The Brooklyn Paper that she’s been receiving homophobic phone calls from people – mostly men from out of town – who accuse her of being sexist, among other things.

“It’s really scary,” she told the paper. “I’m living in fear; I feel so violated.” One call from an angry man particularly upset her after he let loose with a stream of very homophobic obscenities before threatening rape.

What’s causing the uproar? Behind the counter at the register hangs a sign that reads: “10 percent discount for lesbians.”

Paperno, who’s not a lesbian herself – she’s married to a man – defends the discount as a courtesy to her loyal lesbian customers. She also calls it feminist. “I like to help people,” she said. “Women make less money than men.”

And according to several lawyers, Paperno has every right to offer the discount – even if it is causing controversy among some irate callers. That’s why she told the paper she has no plans to take the sign down or to stop offering the discount. If anything, the backlash only reminds us how important it can be for straight allies to take a stand.

Is anyone in Philly offering special discounts to the LGBT community? Tell us about it.