The gay rights movement is famed for embracing openness, tolerance, and celebration of diversity: unless, it appears, that extends to gay supporters of Donald Trump. Brian Talbert, a gay Donald Trump enthusiast from North Carolina, has complained that his request to participate in the Charlotte Pride festivities in August, an event that draws an estimated 100,000 people, has been denied for unspecified reasons.
It is widely suspected that the real reason for the rejection is the gay community’s antipathy towards the Trump administration. Trump himself has tacked a reasonably liberal course with regard to his views on the gay community, yet many in the LGBTQ community have vehemently opposed Vice President Mike Pence, who, during his tenure as governor of India, promoted several pieces of legislation which they regard as discriminatory.
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Pride Charlotte has refused media requests to explain the rejection, but note on their website that the organization, “reserves the right to decline participation” to applicants. “Charlotte Pride envisions a world in which LGBTQ people are affirmed, respected, and included in the full social and civic life of their local communities, free from fear of any discrimination, rejection, and prejudice.”
So, the question remains? Is it acceptable within the gay community to discriminate against those who hold unpopular or controversial political views?
One might understand if the politician in question was someone who had taken public positions in opposition to the political objectives of the gay community: a Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann or Mike Huckabee. Trump has hardly been the bread and butter of the religious right, often struggling to speak to evangelical Christians or their concerns. Yet, evangelicals turned out in droves to vote for Trump, many driven by a conviction that with all of Trump’s defects, 4 years of Hillary Clinton would be worse.
Trump has never, neither as businessman nor politician, suggested that he is beholden to the religious right when it comes to issues that affect the gay community. He also was the first GOP candidate in history to publicly address the LGBTQ community during his convention speech.
It is false for the Charlotte Pride organization to suggest that Donald Trump has pursued an anti-gay agenda. It is hard to believe that Trump the business mogul, is really some virulently anti-gay crusader in disguise. From everything that we know about Trump…he could care less about your sexual orientation. He cares about your performance on the job.
Mr. Talbert is a victim of the incredibly divided political climate in which we now, unfortunately, live.
For the Charlotte Pride organization to deny Talbert the right to participate in the parade is unfortunate, and many might argue, hypocritical. After all, it was not that long ago that gay rights groups themselves were banned from participating in other public events.
In Boston, for example, political controversies raged over an alleged ban on gay groups participating in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was only last-year in ultra-progressive New York, in fact, that gays were allowed to participate as such in that city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Charlotte Pride ultimately excludes members of its own community at its own peril. It is hardly welcoming, open, tolerant, or progressive to suggest that only gays who subscribe to a certain set of political viewpoints should be allowed to participate in their official events.
Only time will tell whether Charlotte Pride will reconsider their decision to ban Mr. Talbert. In the meantime, he has called attention to an aspect of diversity that is unfortunately all too often overlooked in the United States: diversity of political viewpoints.