After a four-hour bus ride and a mentally taxing experience with New York’s subway system, I arrived safely at the first annual quasi-convention for GOProud — the younger, cooler, more conservative version of the Log Cabin Republicans.
Held in the apartment of Peter Thiel, Homocon 2010 attracted about one hundred guests. Mostly the reason for the attendance count was that the tickets were deliriously expensive, thanks to Ann Coulter’s appearance: $250 a pop. I was able to attend as a poor college student only thanks to the graciousness of event organizer Roy Eappen, who offered me his extra organizer’s ticket. (He told me to stop thanking him so much, but I must defy his wishes and offer another note of thanks here.) Ann’s starpower ensured that the event would be a success, though, and, indeed, GOProud’s stock has skyrocketed since the announcement. Its chairman, Christopher Barron, recently sparred with WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah over whether gays can truly be conservative. For her part, Coulter happily abandoned her slot as WND’s convention keynote speaker when Farah asked her to drop her association with GOProud.
I was able to briefly converse with Ann, in a trademark slinky black dress, and was gratified when she said that she recognized my name and had seen some of my work.
“Today’s fifteen-year-old gay boys have Lady Gaga. I had Ann Coulter,” I told her to laughter, recounting my obsession with her as a high-schooler. She’s a charming, agreeable person. I’m not always pleased when I encounter the person behind the writings I enjoy — David Horowitz, anyone? — but in Ann’s case, I’m happy to report, she is as humorful as her irreverent writing style would indicate.
Her remarks, which probably lasted for no more than ten minutes, came about forty-five minutes into the party. The media have focused on her remarks against same-sex marriage. Paraphrasing, she said: “If you think I’m not going to try to talk you out of gay marriage, you’re kidding yourselves; I went onto The View and attacked single motherhood in front of a bunch of single mothers.”
And indeed she tried. Her argument was essentially this: You conservative gays don’t actually care about this activist crap like marriage, or serving in the military. Ultimately, what you really want is some sort of assurance that Americans are accepting of gays, not marriage itself. Gay marriage initiatives don’t fail because Americans hate gay people; they fail because marriage is fundamentally about rearing children. Most Americans love gay people; they just don’t want that institution extended.
The Q&A session was mostly an attack on that line of argument. Red Eye’s Bill Schulz (who was standing next to me) and I kept our hands raised, hoping that a sense of order would remain, but eventually people just started shouting out questions. Porn director Michael Lucas in particular became a bit testy, trying to talk over her during her response to his unsolicited question. He noted that her base might not understand that she has no problem whatsoever with homosexuality or gay assimilation, and that she should use her platform on right-wing shows to drive home that point.
I approached her afterward.
She remembered me: “It’s you! Hello.”
“First of all, let me say: you’re definitely right — at least in my case — that I don’t care about these issues much. I’ve always annoyed the gay left by saying, you know — I don’t need my existence validated by some paper-pushing bureaucrat…”
“Thank you!” she yelled, throwing her hands up. “Thank you. Now go say that to that New York Times reporter over there in the hat!”
“…but yeah, like, this piece I wrote a few weeks ago…”
“No, I’m serious! I want you to go talk to her and say that!”
“Oh, I will; the media whore in me can’t resist. But this piece I wrote about Ken Mehlman — you know, the gay left always gets up in arms about this point — you know, he was working for Bush because he can’t understand why anyone cares about what the state thinks about his sexuality!”
“Oh yeah! And by the way, those of us who knew him: we all knew. Everyone knew!”
“Yeah, definitely. But, as far as your earlier points: would you support some kind of mandate — and we like man dates, here — that would dissolve childless marriages?”
“So then it’s not about children..?”
“No, the law has never done that.”
I was talking to her at the tail-end of her visit, so by now we were walking toward the door while we were talking. I did go to the New York Times reporter, who did not record my remarks and was very patronizing: “Oh, good for you, honey! That’s what the women used to say! Who needs to get married!” Alas, being (and looking) twenty years old is an impediment to appearing authoritative to reporters. I got in a few good words with an Esquire reporter who recognized me, though. I also ran into Tammy Bruce, Students for Liberty president Alexander McCobin (who is not gay), and, weirdly enough, Mark Koenig, a NewsRealBlog writer.
Overall, it was a fun, light-hearted party that existed mostly for the publicity it generated. GOProud and its supporters are a group of independent-minded folks trying to organize to defy orthodoxy and blast open a stale narrative.