Some controversial pictures that were taken at the White House are circulating on the Internet. Images of prominent gay activists making obscene gestures toward paintings of anti-gay presidents have surfaced on Facebook.
The pictures were taken during a trip made to Washington upon the invitation of President Barack Obama for the White House's first-ever gay pride reception.
The event consisted of dancing, dining, and a number of photo opportunities, some of which depict the activists giving a portrait of the late President Ronald Reagan the middle finger.
While the obscene photo ops were not on the itinerary for the Obama-organized event, Matthew Hart, the openly gay national director of public engagement at Solutions for Progress, took it upon himself to express and capture his feelings toward Reagan.
It's not a gesture that I would use in the White House when representing our city and our community, Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal, above center, who can be seen giving a sarcastic thumbs-up pose in front of the portrait of George W. Bush, told The Weekly Standard.
I have friends who work in that building, Segal said. I'm not going to do something that could embarrass them or that could somehow damage a campaign that is so important. 'Be on your best behavior,' my staff told me. I think they know me too well.
Just as upset toward the former president was gay activist Zoe Strauss. Strauss can be seen in a separate picture where she also gives Reagan the middle finger, times two.
The Standard goes on to report that this wasn't Segal's first trip to the White House -- he stopped by once during the administration of gay-friendly President Bill Clinton.
One of the things on my bucket list was to dance with my boyfriend at the White House, Segal said. And this is the second time I got to do it.
As Segal made it a point to explain himself and attempt to justify his actions, Hart on the other hand seemed pretty adamant about the message the pictures send.
The photo of Hart was posted on Facebook along with a caption that reads, F--- Reagan.
Yeah, f--- Reagan, Hart told the Standard one week after the reception. 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.