CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - A member of a local LGBTQ group, who support President Donald J. Trump, says he is asking sponsors to pull their funding from Charlotte Pride after his group was denied entry into the parade.
Brian Talbert, a member of "Deplorable Pride", which is not affiliated with the group "Gays for Trump," tells FOX 46 Charlotte that he is calling on Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, Bank of America and others to pull their funding for the Charlotte Pride Parade and Festival in August.
Talbert says he and a fellow gay Trump supporter sent in an application to Charlotte Pride to enter a float in the 2017 Charlotte Pride Parade.
"It was going to be fun. We wanted to be energetic. We wanted to show that we weren't the racist, bigot, misogynistic…We wanted to show that we are Americans, love our country and our president. We wanted to be there to celebrate gay pride. Everything fell into place except being able to celebrate who I am," Talbert said in a previous interview with FOX 46 Charlotte.
However, Charlotte Pride denied the application and sent back the following statement:
Charlotte Pride reserves the right to decline participation at our events to groups or organizations which do not reflect the mission, vision and values of our organization, as is acknowledged in our parade rules and regulations by all groups at the time of their parade application. In the past, we have made similar decisions to decline participation from other organizations espousing anti-LGBTQ religious or public policy stances.
Charlotte Pride envisions a world in which LGBTQ people are affirmed, respected and included in the full social and civic life of their local communities, free from fear of any discrimination, rejection, and prejudice.
Charlotte Pride invites all individuals, groups, organizations and causes which share our values to join our community's celebration of the LGBTQ community, history, arts and culture during the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, Aug. 26-27, 2017.
Talbert believes his political beliefs are the sole reason Charlotte Pride denied his application.
"I never thought we'd get to a day where you'd have to fear being a Republican. I've been told I can no longer be a part of the gay community, like they have some sort of power over that."
FOX 46 Charlotte first broke Talbert's story on June 7. Now that the story has gone viral, a number of people have expressed outrage over the move.
"As a gay man, I'm disgusted that you banned a group of LGBT because of their political differences. You are the epitome of intolerance," a user wrote on Charlotte Pride's Facebook page.
FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to Charlotte Pride for additional comment. The Charlotte Pride Board of Directors released the following statement on June 12, 2017:
Charlotte Pride envisions a world in which LGBTQ people are affirmed, respected, and included in the full social and civic life of their local communities, free from fear of any discrimination, rejection, and prejudice.
As an organization which values diversity and inclusion, we welcome all groups which reflect in the human rights and equality of all people, including those in our community who are among the most marginalized, especially transgender people, immigrants, refugees and people of color.
With regard to specific inquires on the Gays for Trump/Deplorable Pride parade float: As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the decision to deny the application was made on several non-partisan grounds. The Gays for Trump application was initially denied because of that organization's history of public comments and stances disparaging entire groups of people, including transgender people, people of color and immigrants. We have since learned that the application was submitted on false pretenses by Deplorable Pride, a group not affiliated with Gays for Trump and whose organization's name did not appear on the application, bout whose leaders have also publicly espoused hostile and disparaging stances toward members of the larger LGBTQ community. Finally we considered several concerns regarding the safety of our event attendees when denying this application.
In the past, Charlotte Pride has denied participation at our events to other organizations which do not align to our organization's mission and values. Charlotte Pride reserves the right to decline participation at our events to any group, as is acknowledged by all parade and vendor applicants at the time of their application.
Talbert says he is pursuing legal action against Charlotte Pride.
Charlotte Pride takes place August 26-27, 2017 in uptown Charlotte.
At the time of this report, none of the listed Charlotte Pride sponsors had pulled their sponsorship.
*This story has been updated to reflect the Deplorable Pride name change and the additional statement from Charlotte Pride.