Go-GOProud Boys (And Ladies) Move On From CPAC, Take On The Party
GOProud's executive director: “This event tonight was, in a way, a culmination of [a] three-year controversy with CPAC, and our allies showed up today to show their support. … [T]here are a significant number of influential people in the conservative movement who support us.”
Image by Scott Lamb/Buzzfeed
As Ann Romney finished speaking about her “real marriage” to the Republican nominee for president, Chris Barron — also in a real marriage, also to a man — welcomed the first guests to Homocon, last night's hot ticket party at the Republican National Convention thrown by the gay conservative group GOProud.
The Honey Pot , a gay bar in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, played host to Homocon. Go-go boys and ladies wearing “freedom is fabulous” T-shirts and disco ball party favors were features of the party, which was attended by conservative players Dana Loesch, S.E. Cupp, Grover Norquist, Will Cain, Margaret Hoover, Roger Stone, Roger Simon and Richard Grenell, along with more than 600 others — including more than a handful of members of the media covering the party.
As the event was winding down, Barron told BuzzFeed, “We’ve had a lot of people in a gay nightclub in downtown Tampa, with dancers and techno music. Disco balls everywhere. This isn’t a rubber-chicken dinner at some crappy restaurant. We’re authentic to who we are. We’re authentically gay and authentically conservative.”
Although it's easy to point to the Republican Party platform and to the presidential ticket's positions on marriage equality and the Defense of Marriage Act as reasons why it's “impossible” to be gay and conservative — a regular refrain from LGBT Democrats — Barron and the others in GOProud don't even entertain such questions, focusing instead on making it a statement of fact that gay and lesbian people are an important and inherent part of the conservative movement.
“When people are talking about the platform and stuff —” Lisa De Pasquale, a board member of GOProud, took a look around the party and told BuzzFeed. “There are more people here than will ever read the Republican platform.”
Just another night at the Republican National Convention.
Image by Scott Lamb/Buzzfeed
Contrasting with the Republican Party platform — and Romney — there was more of a “live and let live” libertarian attitude at the party, which was the biggest event that GOProud had held since it co-hosted a “Big Party” with Andrew Breitbart at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2011.
Barron, who co-founded GOProud in 2009 with Jimmy LaSalvia as a more conservative alternative to the long-established Log Cabin Republicans, has a tendency to spout off — often intentionally — in his effort to draw attention to his issues. That tendency, along with a change in leadership at CPAC, led CPAC to decide that GOProud was not allowed to be a co-sponsor of the conference this year.
Watching the group at Homocon on Tuesday night — which included De Pasquale, who also is the former director of CPAC, passing out the disco balls — their message to CPAC came across loud and proud: We don't need you.
LaSalvia, talking with BuzzFeed at the party, said, “This event tonight was in a way a culmination of that three-year controversy with CPAC, and our allies showed up today to show their support. And what it demonstrated is that there are a significant number of influential people in the conservative movement who support us.”