After denying reports that it was dissolving, the conservative LGBT organization GOProud released a statement on Monday announcing its closure after five years.
To deflect a story alleging that the organization planned to shut its doors as part of a rebranding effort following years of financial woes and stagnancy, the organization took to social media to claim that “nothing could be further from the truth” and insist that “GOProud is not closing. It is growing.”
But just a day later, the group’s leaders reneged on their denials. “I posted what I had to on Facebook so I wouldn’t scare our members and thwart our fundraising efforts,” executive director Matthew Bechstein told The Bilerico Project in an interview, explaining that not all contributors and members were made aware of the decision to shut down prior to the news breaking. “I wanted to mitigate a disaster,” he said.
Bechstein spoke with The Bilerico Project’s Bil Browning about the next steps for GOProud, which has been mired in controversy since its inception and has struggled to gain a strong foothold in either conservative or LGBT political circles.
“There have been concerns among our members and investors about whether or not we can continue to grow and be effective without severing ourselves from past controversies,” Bechstein said in a separately emailed statement.
He also conceded that GOProud’s strategy – which has included a series of failed attempts to ally with inhospitable right-wing groups –might not have been the best course of action to mobilize LGBT support within the conservative movement.
“The fact is, in order to continue promoting the conservative principles upon which this organization was founded, change is needed. One of the changes under discussion is a switch to a different legal type of organization – basic paperwork that requires dissolution and immediate subsequent reorganization. Technically, as some argue, this would be a legal closure,” he emailed. “But if it were to actually happen, it would only be momentary and certainly not the end of our organization.”