GOProud’s LaSalvia slams ‘gay left’

Homocon leader, set to speak Saturday at Metroplex Republicans’ Grand Ol’ Party, downplays competition with Log Cabin

LaSalvia.Barron

Jimmy LaSalvia, left, and Chris Barron

JOHN WRIGHT |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

When Taylor Garrett, a gay Republican cast member from The A-List: Dallas, recently claimed his apartment had been vandalized by a “liberal,” Jimmy LaSalvia wasn’t surprised.

As executive director of the national gay conservative (or “homocon”) group GOProud, LaSalvia said he’s grown accustomed to attacks from what he calls “the gay left.”

“The gay left is the most hateful, intolerant, disgusting group of people I’ve ever come across in my lifetime, and everything we do is criticized by them,” LaSalvia told Dallas Voice. “They hate gay conservatives more than anything in the world, and I don’t know why. It’s just a matter of time before violence like that happens.”

Coincidentally — or not, depending on who you believe — LaSalvia had lunch with Garrett in Los Angeles just prior to the rock-throwing incident being reported.

They were joined by conservative pundit Ann Coulter — who serves as honorary chair of GOProud’s Advisory Council — and Logo filmed the rendezvous for an upcoming episode of The A-List.

The timing led some in the gay blogosphere to suggest that LaSalvia put Garrett up to falsifying his report about the rock, which allegedly shattered a window at his apartment in the Dallas Design District — perhaps to generate hype prior to the premiere of the show.

Again, though, LaSalvia said he wasn’t surprised. After all, when he reported that he’d been the victim of a hate crime in Washington, D.C. in July — and used it as an opportunity to craft an op-ed in support of gun rights — he, too, was called a liar.

“I think that is absolutely appalling that someone would question that, and until you’ve been through what I’ve been through, shut the fuck up, because I know what happened to me,” LaSalvia said. “It was very traumatic for me, and that is why I wrote about it, as a way to help me deal with what happened to me.

“And I would say the same for Taylor. He told people about it as a way for him to deal with what had happened to him. And it’s just appalling to me that anyone would question that, and then to speculate that it was a coordinated effort — that I would tell Taylor, ‘Oh yeah, fake a hate crime, you know, get lots of attention,’ — that’s just absurd. And I would just tell all of those people, until it happens to you, shut the fuck up.”

LaSalvia and GOProud board chairman Chris Barron, who co-founded the organization together in 2009, will be in Dallas this weekend for the Grand Ol’ Party — the annual fundraising dinner held by Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, formerly Log Cabin Republicans Dallas.

Also attending the dinner will be Garrett, according to Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein.

In a wide-ranging interview with Dallas Voice last week, LaSalvia criticized Log Cabin Republicans National — where he once served as director of programs and policy — for its recent decision to de-charter the Dallas Log Cabin chapter.

The decision was based in part on Schlein’s decision to invite LaSalvia and Barron to speak at the Grand Ol’ Party. LaSalvia said he believes Log Cabin leaders mistakenly view GOProud as a threat, even though the groups have different missions and donor bases.

“While there are dozens and dozens of gay organizations on the left, the fact that one other right-of-center gay organization exists is not acceptable to Log Cabin,” LaSalvia said. “They have a very specific mission, and they work within the gay establishment organizations in Washington to do their thing.

“We’re working in the conservative coalition with tea party groups and conservative organizations advancing a conservative agenda, and that’s very different from what they do in the Gay Inc. world of Washington.”

Grand Ol’ Party
Saturday, Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m.
MetroplexRepublicans.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Online comments and the death of civil discourse

When you can spout off anonymously and don’t have to talk face to face, it becomes too easy to attack one another

DAVID WEBB  |  Special Contributor

I sometimes wonder if the blogosphere was designed for a class of people that enjoys animal fights over a good movie or a football game. That’s what the blogs of practically all publications often resemble today — a dogfight between readers and journalists, readers and readers, and even journalists and journalists.

There’s something about the ability to instantly lash out at another person without having to look them in the eye that generates written warfare on blogs’ comments sections. The added benefit of being able to exchange written blows without the writers providing full names or even first names seems to make going to battle even more inviting.

The blog spectacles draw crowds of invisible observers sitting in front of their monitors watching the warriors and cheering them on to more aggression. Occasionally, the observers get so caught up in the action that they even get drawn into it.

It’s turned out to be a highly contagious atmosphere, and journalists themselves have become infected with some of the more severe cases of what I’m calling blogoitis.

One of the more spectacular blog slugouts in Dallas occurred about four years ago between two high-profile columnists from competing publications.

The gentlemen, both of whom I’m acquainted with in a casual sort of way, let loose on each other like it was World War III — and the plan was for no one to be left standing.

The funny part about it was that both writers are pretty laid back individuals that in person seem incapable of such hostility.

And on Dallas Voice’s blog, Instant Tea, there have been countless battles waged between all of the parties I mentioned above. I admit to succumbing to it myself in more than one category.

Given that no one is actually getting physically bludgeoned, it might seem almost harmless — if it were not for the resulting complications. It’s one of the laws of the universe: According to one of Newton’s laws of physics, “Every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction.”

In that regard, I think we’re probably seeing a chilling effect arising. I’ve had journalists and readers tell me the experience of a blog fight had left them feeling bad for several days. If a journalist or a reader knows that their words will result in an immediate, symbolic public stoning, it could easily lead anyone to keep their opinions to themselves.

Since the relevantly recent birth of the Internet’s blogosphere, the phenomena of cyber-bullying has also developed. One example of it is the presence of activist groups that maintain e-mail lists for the purpose of launching campaigns to flood blogs with complaints anytime something is written that they don’t like.

I’ve had a few unpleasant, unforgettable experiences with that.

I wrote a column last year that a group of activists didn’t like. One of the members of the group admitted to me that he had heard about the column over dinner one night and immediately launched an e-mail campaign against me without even reading the column. He told me about it because after looking at my blog and seeing how supportive I had been of his group over the years, he actually read the column and then decided to call off the dogs.

Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. It appeared that most of the people who sent complaining e-mails also hadn’t read my column. In fact, they so distorted what I had written, that even I was becoming unsure of what I had actually said.

In any event, criticism does come with the territory for anyone who steps into the public domain, so none of this is meant to imply that criticism and debate shouldn’t take place.

But it does seem like everyone, myself included, should think about what they are writing before posting a comment on a blog — and then strive to be respectful. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to write something that is unfair and could be regretted later.

David Webb is a former staff writer for the Dallas Voice. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28.

—  John Wright