Brian Talbert is gay, but he and his friend were turned away from taking part in the “Charlotte Pride” parade because they support President Trump.
“I’m very proud of my country, proud of my president, and was once proud of my community,” said Talbert, who sports a Trump-Pence bumper sticker on his truck and a “Not a liberal” sign posted on the back window. “I’m very proud of my vote. I don’t regret my vote. I will vote for Donald Trump again. I’m proud of my president. I don’t think I should be vilified because I’m proud of a U.S. president as an American.”
When Talbert and another fellow gay Republican decided to have a float in this year’s Charlotte Pride Parade, they sent in an application and were rejected; ostensibly due to their politics.
“It was going to be fun. We wanted to be energetic. We wanted to show that we weren’t the racist, bigot; misogynistic…We wanted to show that we are Americans, love our country and our president. We wanted to be there to celebrate gay pride. Everything fell into place except being able to celebrate who I am,” Talbert recalled, noting, “For a group of people to claim to want tolerance, acceptance, and give it to every single person you can imagine to give it to, for them to sit back and judge me for exercising my right as an American to choose my leader without judgment is hypocritical.”
A spokesperson for the organization replied to Talbert’s complaint in a written statement:
“Charlotte Pride reserves the right to decline participation at our events to groups or organizations which do not reflect the mission, vision and values of our organization, as is acknowledged in our parade rules and regulations by all groups at the time of their parade application. In the past, we have made similar decisions to decline participation from other organizations espousing anti-LGBTQ religious or public policy stances.”
Claiming that anyone who shares their values is welcome to participate in the parade, the statement went on to say that 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.”
“I don’t judge them for how they vote,” said Talbert, who plans to file a lawsuit against Charlotte Pride for discrimination. “I believe men and women died to give us that right to choose our own leader. They don’t extend the same courtesy to me being a gay republican.”
He has since established a “Deplorable Pride” website, which is fundraising for his lawyer’s fees: deplorablepride.org
The Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade is set to take place on Aug. 26-27, 2017.
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