I’ll get a few things out of the way. I was the Director of CPAC from 2006-2011. I fought for GOProud’s inclusion. When they let me go in 2011, the board also voted to keep GOProud out. Unfortunately, that didn’t change in 2012, 2013 or 2014. Later in 2011, I joined the GOProud board of directors. I was then elected chairman in January 2012. I decided to leave the board earlier this year because I didn’t think I had anything to contribute given their new direction and activities. Others also felt the same way and left the board.
That brings us to today. A few media outlets have reported that GOProud will be shutting down. There was some protest of that characterization by its current leadership. However, they’ve now admitted that they will be shutting down its current legal structure and most likely changing the name if they continue in any other political endeavors. Given that it hasn’t had a physical office since founders Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron left last summer, I think the news of GOProud “shutting down” is about a year late. The truth is, it shut down in its original, successful form when Jimmy and Chris handed over day-to-day operations last year.
I won’t go into what I think went wrong over the last year because I truly did want the new leaders to succeed. I’ve spent the better part of four years defending GOProud’s involvement in the conservative movement. I’m sad that the battles I fought for, like getting GOProud back at CPAC in a real way, won’t continue. But, on the other hand, I think GOProud accomplished its goals within the conservative movement. Even if the CPAC board doesn’t want to expand the conference, the attendees overwhelming support GOProud’s inclusion and that’s what’s important.
On his blog, Jimmy LaSalvia has a good wrap-up of what GOProud has accomplished.
News came this week that the political organization that I co-founded, GOProud, closed down. I am very saddened by this news because I put so much of my life into that group, and it was the first time in my professional life that I was truly myself and true to myself.
Chris Barron and I set out to challenge conventional wisdom when we started GOProud in 2009. We had very simple goals – demonstrate that all gays aren’t left-wing liberals AND all conservatives aren’t anti-gay homophobes.
We were wildly successful in accomplishing our objectives. All you have to do is look at the very public engagement we did with well-known conservatives such as Ann Coulter or Andrew Breitbart, or see the nearly 1,000 people who attended our event at the RNC Convention, or countless other examples.
The secret to our success was that we always were authentic to who we were, and we thought outside-the-box. (As openly gay conservatives, there really wasn’t a box for us anyway.)
We challenged stereotypes, pushed the envelope, and drove our agenda with smart and innovative strategy. We accomplished what we set out to do. We won.
Thank you, Jimmy LaSalvia, Chris Barron, and GOProud members, for everything you’ve done and continue to do for the conservative movement.