Bad optics

Gay club owner “didn’t know” about Trump’s anti-LGBTQ agenda when he attended rally. Sure, Jan.

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Feels good being back home ?? ?

A post shared by ?JOHNNY ALCANTAR (@_johnnyalc) on

We’re not sure which is more absurd — the owner of a gay club sharing photos of himself at a Trump 2020 rally, or his response after being called out by members of the LGBTQ community.

The Old Plantation (formerly The OP) is a nightclub in El Paso, Texas that regularly features drag shows, uses the reclaimed upside-down pink triangle in its advertisements, and is owned in part by a proud Trump supporter.

It’s that last item that’s generated a feeling of betrayal among the El Paso LGBTQ community after Johnny Alcantar, a stakeholder in the club who identifies as straight, posted this photo to Instagram:

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A post shared by ?JOHNNY ALCANTAR (@_johnnyalc) on

Puta Kahlo, a local drag queen, commented on Facebook that she is “disgusted.”

She wrote:

“Y’all, straight people are the first to try to profit off of our community and our art but won’t hesitate to support a man who has called trans people burdens, hasn’t done shit for community but try to erase us, degraded women, and perpetuated racist and xenophobic rhetoric. It’s so easy to buy a space and slap the OP’s name on it – but how much do you REALLY know about us and what have you done for the community? ‘Cause right about now, your position is looking pretty questionable.”

And then came Alcantar’s unbelievable response.

Speaking to local NBC news station KTSM, Alcantar said he wasn’t aware of the Trump administration’s attacks on the community, and that he “didn’t have a choice” but to support the president.

“It was never my intention to hurt anyone,” Alcantar said. “I didn’t know the stuff that Trump was passing.”

“I don’t agree with everything that Donald Trump says,” he continued, “But I have to support our President because he’s our current president; I don’t have any other choice.”

He iced the cake by adding that he has “gay friends and family members.”

For anyone keeping count, here are 92 (and counting) times the Tump administration has attacked the LGBTQ community.

Meanwhile, the club’s CEO, Mark Adkins, released a statement on the venue’s Facebook page that reads 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.”

Alcantar later addressed the issue on his Instagram story, expressing how “unfair” it all is. He wrote:

“It isn’t fair or right to be bashed just because of the position that I’m in when I have never judged the LGBT community. My post wasn’t intended to be a money jar for people’s two cents on both sides of this politic battle to promote hate in any way. Please leave your comments to yourselves and if you don’t know me I respectfully ask you to leave that negativity somewhere else.”