Gay D.C. resident William ‘Billy’ McLaughlin, who serves as Digital Director for the National Rifle Association, told members of Log Cabin Republicans of D.C. on Feb. 20 that the controversial gun rights advocacy group has welcomed him as an out gay employee.
McLaughlin, 24, was the guest speaker at the LGBTQ GOP group’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting held in a conference room at the Chastleton Apartments on 16th Street, N.W., where more than 50 people turned out to listen to him.
“When I started at the NRA I assumed a culture of anti-LGBTQ – but it was the opposite,” he said. “Our former executive director stood up at our annual meeting and said, ‘We fight for you whether you’re black, white, rich, poor, gay or straight, because your life matters equally. You have every right to be proud of it and every right to defend it, and the National Rifle Association is proud to represent you.’”
He was quoting from remarks by Chris W. Cox, former executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, which coordinates the NRA’s congressional lobbying efforts.
McLaughlin told Log Cabin members he went to work for the NRA because he strongly believes in the group’s mission, which he said is often misrepresented by the “liberal” news media and what he called the “anti-gun left.”
“The people I work with are courageous supporters of the Second Amendment and accepting of people from all walks of life,” he said. “The anti-gun movement amongst LGBTQ people is baffling to me, as hate crimes from 2016 to 2018 increased by 50 percent in D.C.,” he told Log Cabin members. He pointed to D.C. police data showing that anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have increased in recent years.
“I long for the day when the gay community will galvanize its significant political might and work toward making practical changes that would let gays better protect themselves when laws don’t,” he said.