Radical gay friends of President Obama were invited to the White House recently to celebrate Gay Pride Month. Two of those friends, Zoe Strauss, a magazine photographer, and Matt Hart, director of a non-profit, posted photos to their Facebook account which surprisingly featured a double flipping of the bird in front of the official portrait of the late President Ronald Reagan.
A gay couple also posted photos of themselves making out in front of Reagan’s image.
Hart said President Reagan’s inaction at the beginning of the AIDS crisis warranted their impolite public display. Hart stood his ground, stating, “Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die…He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.’
However, as a denizen of Hollywood, Reagan’s supposed homophobia is unlikely, according to former Congressman John LeBoutillier. In a 2003 column LeBoutillier addressed the issue directly, stating, “Ronald Reagan was never anti-gay. He and Nancy, as long-time Hollywood insiders, knew many gays and never did or said anything that could be construed as even mildly anti-gay. As governor of California, Ronald Reagan was ‘progressive’ toward the gay movement.”
The display of behavior even bothered President Obama. “While the White house does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do,” Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said. “These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House.”