Episode 31: Fear and loathing in gay Washington

A conversation with Rich Tafel, who opened D.C.’s first Log Cabin Republican office.

He was an influential figure in one of the biggest social changes the country has seen in decades –x the growing acceptance of gay Americans. But, you’ve probably never heard of him. So we’ve gone back to the DecodeDC archives to bring you this encore podcast from June of 2013, featuring Rich Tafel. Tafel opened the first office in Washington for the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization representing gay conservatives.

Tafel provides stunning behind-the-scenes insight of an early 1990s Washington. He describes a vibrant, underground network of gays working in politics that cut across party lines. But Tafel tells the story of how that comradery was undermined by pure politics as the Republican Party became more socially conservative. It’s a story of closed door meetings, outing campaigns, and a vast shift in how politics are done today.

Quick reminder: We are getting ready to relaunch DecodeDC. In addition to the podcasts, which will be weekly, we are building a daily, multimedia DecodeDC blog for all Scripps properties — and for a national audience. So over the coming weeks, we’ll be reposting some of our favorite and smartest podcasts while we build the team and our new online space.

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