2012 Election | Barack Obama | Gay Pride | Log Cabin Republicans | Ronald Reagan

Gay White House Guests Flip The Bird; White House Responds

One week ago Friday, at the White House's LGBT Pride Month reception, President Obama delivered a stirring speech, a trans man proposed to his girlfriend, and many pictures were snapped. Two of them have now made news.

Reagan-ears2Both pics were taken in front of the Ronald Reagan presidential portrait. In one, photographer Zoe Strauss mugs furiously; in the other, Matty Hart, of Solutions for Progress, Inc. (which helps eligible families obtain public assistance), smiles mischievously. In both, the pictures' subjects flip off their dead president.

From The Philly Post:

Hart posted his photo on Facebook with the caption, “F*** Reagan.” Strauss simply posted hers without commentary. After all, the murderous facial expression and double-barreled bird-flipping seem to speak for themselves. Comments ranged from “you forgot to add with a chainsaw” on Hart’s “F*** Reagan” note, to my personal favorite, “star wars … up yours,” on Strauss’s.

Strauss ... declined to comment for this story (“I’m keeping out of the press!” she texted me), but made crystal clear her position on Reagan by posting on Facebook a long list of things that happened under his watch, including the Supreme Court’sBowers v. Hardwick decision, upholding the constitutionality of Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, the Iran-Contra affair and the invasion of Grenada.

Additionally, Strauss posted Reagan’s memorable statement on LGBT rights from the 1980 campaign trail: “My criticism is that [the gay movement] isn’t just asking for civil rights; it’s asking for recognition and acceptance of an alternative lifestyle which I do not believe society can condone, nor can I.”

The Log Cabin Republicans have since responded:

In a statement Friday, Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, criticized Hart and Strauss for insulting Reagan, whom Berle said gave aid to the pro-gay GOP group's founders as California governor in the 1970s.

"It is unfortunate that the image conservative America is seeing today of LGBT people is of gay leftists misbehaving at the White House, rather than the millions of patriotic, decent LGBT citizens, many of whom, like Log Cabin Republicans, hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem," Berle said. "These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult. The participants should be ashamed."

... and so has the White House:

"While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do," Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said. "These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House." 

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Comments

  1. I hardly think showing a disrespectful gesture to the portrait of a dead politician rises to the level which deserves this sort of press. Personally, I wouldn't have done it; not because I respect the man (I REALLY REALLY disrespect what he did and continues to do to our nation ) but because -- come on -- it's the White House! The poor judgement shown by a couple of folks with genuine reasons for malice against the man are being turned into another political 10-second attack on liberals. So what? What would you expect? In this political climate, any gaffe is fair-game for the vultures. I can only hope the Dems will play the game as convincingly -- but I doubt it. Dems are famous for wresting defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Jun 23, 2012 11:09:06 AM


  2. Just another example of how the culture of effeminacy manifests itself--people who are so far removed from the social mainstream and so restricted to the social margins that they do not know how to behave themselves in respectable society.

    The same trash that parades around at Pride.

    I am glad the Obama Administration itself learned a lesson about what these people are like....and I hope that the larger gay population around the country uses this incident as a learning experience about how including the "T" in LGBT soils us all and severely damages our ability to gain acceptance or respect, as well as how the culture of effeminacy in general has a corrosive effect on everything it touches.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 23, 2012 11:10:35 AM


  3. I would criticize Rick's comments, but I think I'd need to actually have some clue what he was talking about first. So I won't bother other than to say this incident doesn't appear to have anything to do with transgendered people. By all accounts, the transgendered people at the event behaved themselves like grown ups.

    Posted by: FancyPants | Jun 23, 2012 11:14:26 AM


  4. I'm very disgusted with the conduct of these people in the White House. They have brought disdain on the gay people of the USA by their callous and disrespectful actions. And no, I'm not a Republican or Reagan lover, just a citizen who holds certain institutions like the White House as a special place to show respect for the counry. And yes, I'm aware of the attitude that being gay gives you the right to not act like a decent human being.

    Posted by: niles | Jun 23, 2012 11:14:56 AM


  5. Good response from the White House. Vulgar and immature people do immature things, even in the White House. Unfortunately, such people tend to be so selfish and disrespectful that they don't care if their personal misdeeds may negatively impact entire movements and people. We need more mature and wiser leaders.

    Posted by: Javier | Jun 23, 2012 11:15:52 AM


  6. Rick, neither of the people were trans so please shut the hell up. Your prejudices against transgender people and effeminate men are getting really old. If you want to hate people for no valid reason, go join the commenters on Fox News.

    Posted by: KP | Jun 23, 2012 11:16:43 AM


  7. I dunno...I think that kissing one's partner before a photo of the despicable Reagan might have been a tad classier...acting like poorly-bred children ain't gonna get us no respeck.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Jun 23, 2012 11:17:43 AM


  8. @KP The proposal involved transsexuals. Totally inappropriate behavior in that setting.

    The two photos referred to in this instance involved typical effeminate, in-your-face activist types--precisely the people who tout "gender-non-conformity" (including inclusion of "T"'s in LGBT) and whose ideology stresses behavioral non-conformity in general......and this is the kind of incident that mindset leads to.

    They are a disgrace to gay people everywhere, but this is what happens when a movement lets itself be taken over by extremists, as the gay movement has, doing severe damage to its viability and credibility in the process.

    I am sure they got no flak at all from any of the other activists in attendance, because they all share the same mentality.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 23, 2012 11:26:41 AM


  9. @ Kile Ozier - I agree 100%, I think you summed it up the best. Zoe Strauss and Matty Hart need to grow up, they don't seem to understand or simple do not care how childish behavior like that reflects on the rest of us. Yes, Regan was a monster who did horrible things, but there many more mature ways to express that. Acting like children in the White House is not one of them.

    Posted by: intristin | Jun 23, 2012 11:33:28 AM


  10. These actions were in memory of David Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar and payback to the conservatives who had Wojnarowicz' video removed from the HIDE/SEEK show in DC.

    Posted by: Larry | Jun 23, 2012 11:38:00 AM


  11. I agree with Alex Parrish. And while that episode was very poor judgement...um, conservatives...can we respect the CURRENT President of the United States? You know, as in not interrupting him, shouting questions at him while he's giving a statement in the Rose Garden? Things like that.

    Posted by: Terry | Jun 23, 2012 11:40:25 AM


  12. @ Rick:

    One word: Stonewall. You'll probably need to look that up.

    Posted by: HeyMrPhipps | Jun 23, 2012 11:53:25 AM


  13. @terry,I would suggest that this action was direct full of the current president as well, since they were invited guests of this white house.

    @larry....it really doesn't matter what there actions were about. It seems that that just makes it a double fail, not only did they embarass themselves and everyone else, they didn't make their point.

    And would somebody please get @rick his meds,

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 23, 2012 11:53:34 AM


  14. *disrespectful, not "direct full" sorry

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 23, 2012 11:54:13 AM


  15. Don't expect the DC establishment to back this sort of behavior. For a normal citizen to be invited to the WH for a reception would be considered an elevation above their normal station, requiring the greatest supplication. Basically, don't embarrass the current administration with your antics.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 23, 2012 11:56:10 AM


  16. Well done. Reagan hated Gay people, he deserves nothing more than our contempt in death.

    Posted by: chadnnocal | Jun 23, 2012 11:58:42 AM


  17. I wouldn't have done it. I was raised better...you disrespect the living, but not the dead.

    Posted by: ed | Jun 23, 2012 11:58:57 AM


  18. It was a childish thing to do and will be used for propaganda purposes against Obama. End of story.

    As far as Reagan: My main problem with him was the neo-liberal economics he ushered in that has proven to be a disaster. But I seriously doubt he was anti-gay or particularly homophobic, especially considering the business he was in. And AIDS 'activist' from that era also share some of the blame, especially by not allowing the disease to be treated as a public health danger, like syphilis, typhoid, etc. I know this will upset some people, but at the early stages [early - mid 80s] folks with AIDS should have been treated humanely but still isolated and prevented from any possibility of spreading the disease. Bath house and other places where public sex occurred should have been shut down, and anyone knowingly spreading the disease should have treated as the criminals they were. And finally, access to the blood supply should have been greatly tightened up.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 23, 2012 11:59:24 AM


  19. Understand the sentiments, although I disagree with their actions.

    But this is a tempest in a teapot. We had Bush administration officials flipping the bird at the Constitution in the White House for the better part of 8 years.

    Posted by: Magic Finger | Jun 23, 2012 12:00:44 PM


  20. @Everyone who posts on towleroad: RICK is a troll. Ignore it. It will go away. Eventually.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jun 23, 2012 12:13:31 PM


  21. @Chris You can snark to your heart's content, but anyone who does not see the link between the "show-your-a$$" in public mindset that infects most Pride celebrations (and that is driven by the gender-non-conformist mindset) and incidents like this is just deliberately blinding themselves to reality.

    @HEYMRPHIPPS No, I don't have to look up Stonewall. And its significance has been grossly exaggerated as has the degree to which drag queens were involved in it.

    The gay movement would have proceeded with or without Stonewall and I am quite sick and tired of hearing that because a few drag queens threw their shoes at police one night, they deserve some kind of eternal gratitude or consideration. They were probably so drunk that they didn't even know what they were doing and I am quite sure they were not driven by any sense of liberation ideology

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 23, 2012 12:18:13 PM


  22. @Chris You can snark to your heart's content, but anyone who does not see the link between the "show-your-a$$" in public mindset that infects most Pride celebrations (and that is driven by the gender-non-conformist mindset) and incidents like this is just deliberately blinding themselves to reality.

    @HEYMRPHIPPS No, I don't have to look up Stonewall. And its significance has been grossly exaggerated as has the degree to which drag queens were involved in it.

    The gay movement would have proceeded with or without Stonewall and I am quite sick and tired of hearing that because a few drag queens threw their shoes at police one night, they deserve some kind of eternal gratitude or consideration. They were probably so drunk that they didn't even know what they were doing and I am quite sure they were not driven by any sense of liberation ideology

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 23, 2012 12:18:24 PM


  23. Re: Rick

    I'm a very Masculine, Southern, country, blue-collar, white male. I only wish I had the opportunity to flip off the SOB, dead or not. Really man what is so threatening about feminine men or T's?


    More generally regarding flipping off Reagan, even if I have respect for an abstract concept such at "the office of the President," or the white house, this was a person who left a legacy of dismantling social programs and regulations that protected the poor, the middle class, and the marginalized; and we are still dealing with the repercussions. The mere fact that he was president and is dead does not magically make him less worthy of the bird than Limbaugh, Beck, Cheney or Helms.

    Posted by: rayrayj | Jun 23, 2012 12:21:57 PM


  24. I voted for Reagan the first time around was my very first vote in fact,
    only to hear his medicine and morality speech a few year later.
    That was the start for me to know there is something wrong with the rethug party.
    Screw Reagan they should have tryed to burn his picture.

    Posted by: doug105 | Jun 23, 2012 12:25:55 PM


  25. It was wrong

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Jun 23, 2012 12:32:11 PM


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