IIn a salute to our 40th President that he probably would take issue with, a gay activist who visited the White House for the White House’s 2012 LGBT pride reception gave a portrait of Reagan the finger when walking past.
Zoe Strauss who was there as a guest of Matty Hart, national director of public engagement at Solutions for Progress, posted a picture of herself on Facebook, and it was picked up by the the Philly Post, waving both middle fingers at Reagan. She also tagged Ronald Reagan in the photo. Hart also place the same picture on his Facebook page with the phrase “F*ck Reagan” written across the bottom. Hart told the Philly Press that he had serious issues with Reagan’s handling of the AIDS epidemic.
“[Reagan] was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”
Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal told the Philly Post of the incident,
“I have friends who work in that building. I’m not going to do something that could embarrass them or that could somehow damage a campaign that is so important. ‘Be on your best behavior,’ my staff told me. I think they know me too well.”
Not everyone in the Gay rights movement was thrilled with Hart or Strauss’ behavior. Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans (a Republican gay group), was quick to criticize both Hart and Strauss for their behavior. He pointed out that Reagan gave money to the gay group’s founders when he was Governor of California.
“It is unfortunate that the image conservative America is seeing today of LGBT people is of gay leftists misbehaving at the White House, rather than the millions of patriotic, decent LGBT citizens, many of whom, like Log Cabin Republicans, hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem. These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult. The participants should be ashamed.”