Truly larger than life, a seven-foot banner at LA’s pride festival this weekend featured an oversize version of Caitlyn Jenner’s recent Vanity Fair cover and a logo for the the country’s leading LGBT Republican group.
Posing for photos in front of the backdrop — which was set up by the Log Cabin Republicans' local chapter — festivalgoers showed their support for the often-conflicting agendas of both Republicans and the movement for LGBT rights.
“The fact that Caitlyn Jenner is a very high-profile Republican who is also transgender made this the perfect time to point out the diversity within our party," Matthew Craffey, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, told BuzzFeed News.
Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans national organization, told BuzzFeed News in an interview Monday, “There is a sentiment among much of the media and the left — and especially the gay left — that if you are part of the LGBT community, that you are required to be a Democrat because only Democrats are pro-equality. The fact that there are members of the Log Cabin Republicans that identify as LGBT people show that is not the case."
“There is no one better to advocate on these issues to Republicans than other Republicans," he continued. “Own the fact that you are Republican, and let gay Democrats know you are an LGBT Republican. It’s also important to let other Republicans know you are LGBT."
One picture posted by the group’s LA affiliate, shows a young man standing before the “Call me Caitlyn” cover holding a dry-erase board that reads, “Call me Republican.”
The Log Cabin Republicans did not contact Jenner to notify her or get her consent for the project at LA's gay pride, he said.
Many LGBT advocates were stunned in April when Jenner told ABC News she was a Republican, leading many people to ask why a transgender person would support a political party that has historically fought against LGBT rights.
Phil Attey, a longtime LGBT and Democratic strategist, told BuzzFeed News, “The problem with the group isn't in their work trying to educate the Republican Party on LGBT issues ... It's their work in every election lying to the LGBT community that Republican candidates are just as good on LGBT issues as their Democratic challengers.”
Attey said Log Cabin Republicans have traditionally backed GOP candidates for president, and there is no reason to believe 2016 will be any different. For Jenner, he said, “unless she denounces them, they're going to continue to use Caitlyn's celebrity to try and convince LGBT voters who don't know any better, that if they support Caitlyn, they should support the Republican Party ticket.”
Anglelo dismissed the criticisms, saying the booth at LA gay pride was extremely popular and showed LGBT Republicans "coming out in terms of their political affiliation."
"Caitlyn Jenner identifies as a Republican, and this is a gay pride celebration," he said. "Shouldn’t we celebrate people in the LGBT community? The Log Cabin Republicans of Los Angeles came form a place of respect and love, and anyone who doesn’t see that really needs to become less of a stick in the mud.”
Jenner did not responded Monday to questions from BuzzFeed News.