Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Republican House of Delegates Member Caught on Grindr

Apparently, at least one Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates have forgotten about what happened to former Virginia 2nd District Congressman Ed Schrock who chose to end his re-election campaign after being caught using a gay hookup site back in 2003.   It seems that a Southwestern Virginia GOP lawmaker was cruising on Grindr this past weekend in Richmond.  For those unfamiliar with Grindr, it is a gay dating and hookup app that one uses via their smart phone to connect with other gay men.  The hypocrisy of someone in the Virginia GOP which is vitriolically anti-gay - Senator Carrico (R-40) recently compared being gay to a form of cancer - using Grindr for gay sex hook ups is off the charts.  Fortunately, since this particular member of the House of Delegates has not been stridently anti-gay in his voting record (at least in relative terms), the folks at GayRVA chose not to "out" him and reveal his identity - at least for now.  Instead, an open letter was published addressed to this legislator.  Here are excerpts from that letter:

 First- welcome to RVA – I’ve visited your part of the state before and imagine the number of available dudes here in the Richmond area v. the part of Virginia where you call home is exciting! As a gay man, I’d never shame someone for wanting to explore their sexuality as long as it is done in a safe and healthy way, so I hope you’re getting the chance to enjoy it!

[L]ets also talk about your role as a legislator and how it impacts and affects LGBTQ people in the rest of the Commonwealth. I’ve looked up your voting record and there’s a number of things you voted against which makes me wonder;

Do you ever want to have kids? You voted to make it harder for same-sex couples to adopt by allowing state funded adoption agencies to deny adoptions to people that violate their moral “conscience.”

What college did you go to? (I actually know, I googled you!) Well, other folks still in college, like the young man you hit up on Grindr who alerted me, are now living in a state university & college system which allows select official school clubs to discriminate pretty much at will. Those clubs can also gather to rally around causes which could harm LGBTQ folks.

Speaking of age, you totally lied on your profile – also tacky! (Google is an editor’s best friend.)
I know you’re obviously not out at work here at the General Assembly, but I have to ask why you would vote against a law which would have protected LGBTQ Virginian’s for being fired for who they love.

[Y]ou managed to take the opportunity to put your own people down.

Speaking of self loathing behaviors, why did you vote against the appointment of an openly gay Judge? That vote was less-than-subtle on why and how it was targeted – with several conservative Senate members walking out rather than voting him in – but again, you sat there quietly and let the broader anti-gay sentiment at the GA take the driver’s seat.  Thankfully the honorable Judge Thorn-Begland was appointed, but no thanks to you.

I’m sure the personal crisis you go through every time you cruise has got to be pretty intense. I came out at 15, it wasn’t stellar, but I survived. Now you, much older then that, will have to someday deal with these feelings and you can be the man you are right now or you can take the opportunity so few of us have and stand up for what is right.

I hope you make the right choice… and if you decide otherwise, stay off of Grindr cause we’ll be watching.

Personally, I would have "outed"  this delegate (which is probably why the editor of GayRVA did not give me his name when we spoke today).  This delegate posted a face photo - which GayRVA obscured - and his identity was confirmed.  In my view, one's right to personal privacy ends when you use your elected position to vote for anti-gay legislation or take anti-gay actions.  When I learned about Ed Schrock's hypocrisy, I worked with blogger Mike Rogers to get the truth out despite threats from Schrock's chief of staff.  This member of the House of Delegates is keeping alive a toxic atmosphere where gay youth continue to take their own lives because of the bullying and discrimination they experience.  This delegate deserves to be exposed and experience the toxicity that he is working to maintain.  In all my years as a GOP activist, I never, ever supported anti-gay bigotry.  This delegate could have abstained from votes if he was too much of a coward to do the right thing.

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