Commentary: Trump: Love him or hate him — there’s no neutral corner. Americans love our freedom of speech but does that proclamation apply to gay bar owners and entertainers when it comes to the president? Does it matter if they are pro-Trump?
An El Paso gay bar’s owners apologized for one of its owners attending the president’s anti-immigrant rally. Johnny Alcantar, one of five owners of the Old Plantation (remember when we had one of those here in Houston?) posted a photo of himself on Instagram smiling alongside a group holding a Trump banner, reports KTSM.com.
The post drew instant condemnation from El Paso’s drag and LGBTQ community, some calling for a boycott. The president’s record on transgender and gay rights is in line with other right wing extremist hate groups.
Alcantar apologized and said he only attended the rally to see a sitting president.
“It was never my intention to hurt anyone,” Alcantar said. “I didn’t know the stuff that Trump was passing.” Apparently he has been hiding under a rock the past two years.
The chief executive officer of the OP, Mark Adkins, released a statement reading, in part: “To all of our fellow patrons, and LGBT members. We apologize for any confusion going through your heads at this time. We want to make one thing as clear as crystal: The Old Plantation Nightclub does NOT support Trump’s views or opinions ESPECIALLY towards our LGBT community. The OP was built by and built for the LGBT community and everyone should already know that.”
Houston’s Charles Armstrong frequently posts anti-Trump statements on his personal and his club’s Facebook pages, JR’s and South Beach. His sentiments are more in line with a majority of LGBTQ people.
A recent post reads, “The GLBTQ community loves The Speaker of the House, Congressperson Nancy Pelosi!!!” with a meme showing the speaker’s now-celebrated State of the Union clap and an inscription that says, “Congrats to @SpeakerPelosi for inventing the ‘fuck you’ clap. #sotu.”
Lana Blake, a well-known performer at various Houston locales including Barcode and Michael’s Outpost, is legendary in her anti-Trump posts. A recent post simply reads: “NATIONAL EMERGENCY MY ASS…” Another one says, “SO NOW THE TRUMP SUPPORTERS AND NUTJOBS THINK SNOPES IS FAKE NEWS TOO? UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE!!! WE ARE DOOMED!!!”
Not spending my money there
Everyone is entitled to have an opinion even if we do not necessarily agree. (Just read the disclaimer at the end of this story.) Should we allow the politics of bar owners and/or entertainers to influence where we spend our money? According to feedback we received, the answer is a resounding yes!
Kirk Childress, a flight attendant who felt the effects of Trump’s government shutdown first hand told us, “I’m sure as heck not spending my money on bars owned by Trump supporters, especially bars that purport to be a part of the gay community.”
Regarding the El Paso incident, Ross Clifton Sanford said, “That was a big mistake,” and Ric Simmons interjected, “Going out of business sale coming soon.”
Joyce Day, an LGBTQ ally and Indigenous People’s activist replied, “I will not knowingly give my money to anyone who supports that madman.”
Linda Reeder, a retired Registered Nurse stated, “I think everyone has the right to their opinion and they have the right to put their opinion out there, but if you are an owner of an establishment where the leader of our country is trying to reverse every right that you have worked very hard for and you’re supporting this person I would be totally embarrassed and would not support his bar.”
A little more forgiving were these two:
Jared Lewis said, “In this case, it seems unfair that the other owners should suffer due to this guy’s stupidity.”
Joshua LaVeir told us, “I have friends on both sides of the aisle. Most hate the current ‘regime’ and I understand and agree with a lot. I don’t think I should have my rights taken away just because you can only see the world from a place of fear. And I also have friends on the opposite side who believe in what’s happening now. Although I might not agree with their view it does make me want to grab them and shake them until they ‘think like me.’ It takes all kinds. There is no point in a world where everyone thinks the same. That would be quite boring. The scales tip both ways and the shift of power fluctuates. Do I agree with the “president?” No. Can he single handedly stop the world from spinning? No. But I also don’t wanna wake up tomorrow under Martial Law and find out my lifestyle is now illegal.”
Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and our nation is divided now more than ever. Vote for and support whomever you please. The power of the wallet is just as wonderful. Just as we don’t eat at Chic-fil-A because of their donations to anti-gay causes, don’t spend your money at bars where the owners are campaigning against your best interests. If you are a business owner or entertainer who supports Trump, just do what he does so well — lie.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the MONTROSE STAR.
Johnny Trlica is the manager of the Houston Rainbow Herald Facebook page, your source for the latest LGBTQ news and information. Contact him at HRHeditor@gmail.com.