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GOProud makes me roll my eyes, sigh in disbelief, laugh them off, ignore their obvious incitement. And sometimes: Jump to their defense

by Jeremy Hooper

On policy, I disagree with them most always. But as long as there is a Republican party (/conservative wing of it) of which they want to be part, they shouldn't be denied in any way on the basis of their sexual orientation/gender identity/expression. As long as there is a conservative political conference that they care to support, they shouldn't be shut out solely because of who they are as people. And as long as groups like Focus on the Family keep bullying like this…

*AUDIO SOURCE: CPAC Kicks Out GOProud [FoTF Citizenlink]

…I will absolutely go to the mat for GOProud. Regardless of deep political differences. Regardless of how ill-advised or dim I may see their desire to sponsor a conference populated with so many anti-LGBT-rights groups. Regardless of whether the group's chairman of the board might liken my own, obviously left-leaning political involvement to that of the Taliban.

Because don't be fooled by the anti-LGBT crowd's justifications. I know GOProud. I've chat with its tops leaders familiarly, sipped margaritas with its members convivially. I've listened to the organization's president address a room full of conservatives in a speech where he made no bones about his sexuality, yet never once advocated for any of the things that these anti-gay groups are using to justify this CPAC shutout. I've watched clips of Ann Coulter keynoting a GOProud event with a speech in which she (GO)proudly stated that marriage “is not a civil right – you’re not black." I've seen campaign ads where they sought the defeat of Barney Frank and Barbara Boxer, in favor of candidates that were on record against most, if not all, LGBT rights matters. Let me tell you: This is a conservative group first and foremost -- one that I would consider quite far right, in fact.

So when groups like Focus on the "homosexuality is a particularly evil lie of Satan" Family say they've been working on "the problem from the inside," make no mistake: "The problems" they are discussing are not this conservative group's political stances or expressed commitment to defeating Barack Obama, but rather the sexual orientation/gender identity/expression of the human beings who express these views. So on that, the matter of defending LGBT people against blatant discrimination, I have absolutely no problem or even hesitation standing with GOProud against the groups that'd like to "change" us all, regardless of whether we travel through D.C. aboard an elephant or a donkey. And I can stand up for this group's right to exist and engage while concurrently suggesting that this, yet another expression of the deep anti-LGBT bias that has a stranglehold on the modern GOP, is/should be precisely the reason why involvement, in both party and conference, comes across as such a total and utter non-starter for most proud LGBT people.

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