op-ed

It gets better … unless you’re a gay conservative

Lisa De Pasquale Former Director, CPAC

Everyone from Justin Bieber to Joe Biden has recorded videos in support of the “It Gets Better” project, which aims to give gay youth hope and encouragement. The project was started after several gay youth committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying.

Many prominent gay activists on the left and LGBT-friendly organizations like the Human Rights Campaign have posted “It Gets Better” videos. Unfortunately, in other contexts these activists and organizations behave like bullies themselves.

Dan Savage, the “It Gets Better” project’s co-founder, has been just as vicious toward gay conservatives as schoolyard bullies have been toward their gay classmates. In an MSNBC interview, Savage referred to the members of GOProud, an organization of gay conservatives, as “gay Quislings and useful idiots.” He said they were just “window dressing” for bigoted Republicans. Like a schoolyard bully, Savage ridicules people who are different from him.

In 2007, the Human Rights Campaign congratulated Joe Jervis, the creator of the Joe My God blog, for an award he received for having the best LGBT blog. In 2011, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awarded Jervis with its “Blogger of the Year” award. At the time, GOProud Chairman Emeritus Chris Barron wrote in The Daily Caller:

GLAAD’s tag line is “Words and images matter.”… Jervis goes as far as allowing calls for actual violence against gay conservatives to stand on his site. On two separate occasions, Jervis has openly ridiculed incidents of violent anti-gay hate crimes against gay conservatives. Apparently, words and images don’t matter to GLAAD’s members as long as the subject of those attacks is someone they disagree with politically.

Jervis, who describes his website as “a homo goulash fighting the fascist right,” routinely attacks gay conservatives and their allies. You know how well-meaning adults always tell children to ignore the bullies? It doesn’t work with gay-left activists like Jervis. Until now, I have never engaged or mentioned Jervis in any public forum, but he has routinely targeted me simply for being a member of GOProud’s Advisory Council. Now that I am serving as the interim chairman of the GOProud Board of Directors, I don’t expect his attacks to let up. Yet Jervis cloaks himself in empty rhetoric supporting the “It Gets Better” project.

In addition to his own blog posts and comments on Twitter, Jervis turns a blind eye to comments on his blog that are just as ugly as the comments of the bullies he claims to fight. For instance, one commenter wrote in his comments section, “Every time a gay suicide is reported on the news, Mr. & Mrs. Barron shake their heads and say ‘Dammit … it should have been Chris'” — a reference to Chris Barron. Another wrote, “If you’re going to run with [Coulter] you better wear armour.”

The last comment refers to a recent incident in which Taylor Garrett, a gay conservative cast member of the reality TV show “A-List Dallas,” was attacked after it was revealed that Ann Coulter would make an appearance with him and GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia on the show’s finale. Not long after, a rock was thrown through Garrett’s apartment window. Attached to the rock was a threatening note saying Garrett was “an embarrassment to the gay community” and should “watch your f******g back.” Garrett and his apartment manager filed separate police reports about the incident. A month later, as he was leaving a party, Garrett saw a man scratch “F*** Coulter” into the side of his car. The man then punched Garrett, who fell to the ground as the man ran away. The broken glass on the ground cut Garrett’s ear, causing it to start bleeding. Paramedics were called and Garrett filed a police report.

After both incidents, Garrett did all that was necessary and appropriate to report the crimes. But activists on the gay left nevertheless accused him of making up the incidents in order to attract attention. Some even said he deserved it. What kind of message does this send to the children that the makers of the “It Gets Better” videos are trying to reach?

Perhaps that it doesn’t get better — at least not for gay conservatives and their allies.

Miss De Pasquale is the former director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and currently serves as the interim chairman of GOProud’s Board of Directors, a national organization of gay and straight Americans seeking to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights.