So here’s something interesting, but not completely surprising: a relatively new (founded in 2009) group of “gay and straight” Republicans and Libertarians calling themselves GOProud held a glitzy “Homocon” on August 28 during the Republican National Convention. It drew a lot of the conservative illuminati, including no taxes advocate Grover Norquist and former Florida Congressman Mark Foley, who sent sexy emails to Congressional male pages, to a gay nightclub in Tampa.
Many attendees sported t-shirts that said “Freedom is Fabulous.” And Mitt Romney buttons, which may seem strange to most people, considering that Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan support individual and sexual freedom as much as the Pope does. GOProud is officially backing Romney/Ryan.
The GOP’s opposition to gay marriage (it’s in the party’s official platform) and ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the federal gay rights bill that has yet to pass Congress) doesn’t seem to phase GOProud supporters. They have other, more pressing, concerns.
“I understand I won’t have equal rights,” party attendee Robert Stevens told the Washington Post. “But I also want to be filthy rich, and I think the Republican ticket can get me there.” He can alway buy a social conscience once he’s richer than Bill Gates.
“We’ll have more people at our party tonight than who will read the Republican Party platform,” said GOProud Executive Director (and co-founder) Jimmy LaSalvia, an ex-Log Cabin (gay Republican group) member. “The Left wants you to believe that conservatives hate gay people. But we invited the leaders of the conservative movement and the Republican Party to a gay bar tonight -- and they’re coming. This is the reality.”
First of all, Republican Party members are no strangers to gay bars. Or tearooms, sex clubs and parks. For your information, La Salvia, conservatives DO hate “gay people.” Why else spend decades opposing gay rights legislation, efforts to stop bullying in schools, positive depictions of queers in curriculums, gay adoptions, etc.? Or even gay marriage, for chrissakes. What can be more conservative than wanting to get married?!
Freedom may be fabulous, but it’s something for which a lot of us leftist queers fought hard and for many, many years. Forty-two years ago when I came out, folks who thought like those who flocked to GOProud’s Homocon were hidden deep in their closets. They hated those of us who were out and proud because we threatened their safe little worlds where being in the closet helped them make lots of money.
I get that GOProuders want their cake and eat it, too. They want to be socially liberal (especially in sexually matters), but fiscally conservative (no restrictions on the free market, no taxes for social programs, etc.).
But how do they propose to address the incredible poverty in our LGBT community? Several studies have shown that the queer community is just as poor, and in some instances poorer, than the straight community. Forty percent of homeless youth in America identify as LGBT. In the Bay Area, 75% of transgender people are not employed full-time.
Does GOProud’s believe that their magic free market will solve all these problems? Will corporations come to the rescue, the old trickle down proposed by their buddy Ronald Reagan (who let queers die of AIDS rather than alienate his conservative base by addressing the epidemic)? Will the rich provide for all of us not fortunate enough to have a good paying job with healthcare benefits (like nearly 50 million Americans)? Or LGBT seniors barely scraping by, or people with AIDS who can’t afford drugs that the pharmaceutical companies shamelessly price out of their reach?
GOProud: proud to be thinking only of themselves.