President Donald Trump’s staff has taken notice of a Republican LGBT group in Charlotte that was banned this month from participating in the city’s annual gay pride parade.
The Mecklenburg County Republican Party said the White House Office of Political Affairs contacted Deplorable Pride on Monday with questions about the organization’s political activities in Charlotte.
Brian Talbert, co-founder of Deplorable Pride, described the call as a show of support. But he said the conversation concluded with questions about Charlotte Pride’s refusal to allow his group’s tongue-in-cheek float in the city’s pride parade this summer.
The 27-foot-long float would have included a female impersonator dressed as first lady Melania Trump, surrounded by a handful of other female impersonators wearing blue-sequined “Make America Great Again” evening gowns.
“I was told to expect a call from the White House, but I still just about fell over when I got it,” said Talbert. “They asked me to email them everything I could on what happened (with the parade). I was told: ‘The president is going to want to see this.’ ”
The call was initiated, he said, because White House staff wanted to laud the group for joining a sit-in staged Saturday at a Starbucks, where the staff had mocked a customer wearing a Trump T-shirt. The sit-in, which involved about 50 people, got media coverage across the country.
Talbert said the White House call was about Trump “giving credit where credit is due.”
“It definitely re-affirmed what I thought about the type of man he is,” said Talbert.
Charlotte Pride’s rejection of the group’s parade entry also got widespread coverage, and critics raised questions about the festival’s commitment to inclusion and free speech.
Said a story in Newsweek: “The right to be gay is all but settled as a legal matter these days, and transgender acceptance has been dramatically increasing. One might expect, then, that the pride parades of summer might start to grow less political and more like other cultural celebrations. Apparently not.”
Charlotte Pride defended the decision in a statement from its board: “In the past, we have made similar decisions to decline participation from other organizations espousing anti-LGBTQ religious or public policy stances. 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.”
The group also says there were discrepancies in the Deplorable Pride’s application.
Officials with the Mecklenburg County Republican Party said this week that they are supporting Deplorable Pride, which has about a dozen members, gay and straight.
“It’s a shame that a community once known for its inclusiveness is excluding their own based on political views,” said the county’s Republican Party spokesman, James Tatro.
Talbert said he received threats over the parade float controversy, including an email from someone who wanted to “cut off my head.” All have been turned over to the authorities, he said.
“You are not going to stop hearing from Deplorable Pride,” Talbert said. “I’ll be honest: I’ve enjoyed exposing the bigoted hypocrisy of the left. We (the LGBT community) have gone from being oppressed to being the oppressor in less than 50 years.”