Written By: DJ Doran, Editor in Chief
I recently had the opportunity to chat at length with the founder of the #walkaway
campaign Brandon Straka. I had been following the trajectory of this movement since
someone forwarded me the video he created and posted online about how he was
leaving the Democratic Party and liberalism. It piqued my interest particularly because
Mr. Straka is a gay hairdresser from the liberal bastion of New York City. I was curious
about what had led him to the point where he felt compelled to make such a bold and
public statement given the current volatile and polarizing state of political discourse.
We have heard the term “FAKE NEWS” blasted everywhere and it has become the new
paradigm for how news is represented and this new era of journalism stories are
created, manipulated and distorted in the pursuit of ratings and emotive responses. To
that point, I decided to publish Mr. Straka’s comments with little to no editing except for
spelling and grammar. As the only LGBTQ news and lifestyle magazine to cover Mr.
Straka and the #walkaway movement we wanted to make certain that he could speak
directly to our readers in HIS words, not ours and give you the opportunity to draw your
own conclusions regarding his truth and to form your own opinions about what he has to
Mr. Straka is passionate, driven and opinionated and whether you agree with him or not
we believe that you will find his story both interesting and compelling. Because of the
length of the interview and the topics that we covered during our conversations, this
will be the first part of a 2 part feature. The second part will be published in our
We encourage you to read what he has to say with an open mind and as always do
your own due diligence on the truth. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on the
facts so that we can be informed about the important issues that affect our lives.
KWIR will continue to strive to be a source for our readers to learn about subjects and
topics from multiple viewpoints as expressed by thoughtful and insightful writers who
challenge conventionality and encourage lively debate toward a greater understanding
of the issues that interest and affect them directly as well as the world, they live in.
What prompted you to create your walkaway video?
Well, so, you know my whole life I was a liberal and my whole adult life, a Democratic Party
voter. I think that I was a Democrat by default because as a gay man or a member of a minority
group in America, I think that we are expected to be a part of that party or vote a certain way or
think a certain way and you know, there’s an expectation that we will be Democrats. And so, I
sort of always just found myself in that camp and I went along with that ideology and for years. I
started to watch as the identity politics and political correctness began to intensify and become
really bizarre and twisted and oppressive and kind of inhibiting and I found it to be more divisive
than it was productive, and it started bothering me a lot. Before I go one too much further I think
I’m going to gear some of my answers specifically toward the LGBT community because some
of these things are things I don’t get to talk about as much when I do normal interviews because
I think they’re not as relatable to the general public, but I think they’ll be very relatable to the gay
I remember around the time that Marriage Equality was headed to the Supreme Court and I was
always a big advocate of gay rights. I mean, I still am. I was always an advocate of gay rights and you know, an advocate of Marriage Equality and it was something that I was outspoken about. I mean, I think I was just as outspoken about that as
I am now of the #walkaway campaign. I even created a group at one point called SAGE which
stands for “Straight Americans for Gay Equality” because I always believed that the key to
shifting public opinion on gay rights issues was to get the straight community on board and
supporting us so that we weren’t just doing it on our own. We ended up getting 85,000 people in
that group over the course of just a few weeks. It was a very, very active group on social media.
Anyway, I’ve always been like this, but as Marriage Equality was headed to the Supreme
Court I was out there on the front lines fighting for and being an active participant in that process
and when we won at the Supreme Court, I thought to myself, okay, this is amazing, I felt like we had almost crossed the finish line, which is not to say that of course homophobia instantly goes away just because we won this, but I thought, this is such a major victory that we should all be coming together at this point celebrating, this would be wow, we did it.
What I found happened was that immediately after Marriage Equality went through, our
community just began to get splinter more and more and more. It had already begun to happen
because I think that people saw that we were headed toward victory and I think that the seeds
of that splintering began before that, but it was really after Marriage Equality that it got very bad.
This is when I started to hear about privilege and victims and oppression and stuff within the
community. I mean, it was one thing when we as a community could come together and say
look, as a gay community we are being oppressed by society at large. That was true, but after
Marriage Equality, it was well, black lgbt people are oppressed by white lgbt people and gay
men are higher on the hierarchy than lesbians, it was this division from within.
I thought, wow, this is really disgusting and I finally reached what was the breaking point for
me and my connection to the gay community. I want to make clear too that this is not something
that I took flippantly because a huge part of my heart was, and my identity, was being a gay man within the gay community. You know, all of my friends were gay, I always went to gay establishments, gay, gay, gay. I lived a very gay life. Somewhere around that time though, the Huffington Post had a subset of their news called Huffington Post, Gay Voices and probably
more than 50 percent of the time I used to find the articles that they would put out just absolutely
repellant and embarrassing and shameful. First they focused on things that don’t fully represent
who gay people really are and second they focused on things that are completely disgusting
and inappropriate, you know, graphically sexual.
Not that I am a prude, I’m not, but I just felt, how dare an LGBT news entity who claims to be a voice of the community publish articles focusing on lube and fisting and the Kink community. I
was just like, this isn’t who we are, this should not be the primary face of our community. I used
to speak out and object to that and people would often jump down my throat and I started to
become very aware of the Group Think and the Tribal mentality because I thought my
complaints were perfectly reasonable. All I was saying literally was “let’s have some
integrity and decency in the way that we project ourselves in public”. “I don’t care what the hell
anyone does”. If you want to go home at night and have a fisting party with 15 people, that’s
awesome, great, have fun, I applaud you. I just don’t think that this should be front page news representing our community. Around this time Huffington Post Gay Voices decided to change their name to Huffington Post Queer
Voices. I had already seen what was starting to happen and at the time I didn’t realize this was
liberalism. I didn’t know that, because I was a liberal and I was immersed in liberalism and living
in a liberal city with liberal friends. I didn’t know that that’s what this all came from. I literally just
thought this is where the whole world was, that we were headed towards this stupid, politically
correct, there’s no gender, all this different stuff.
And so when they switched to Queer Voices, I was very upset and they posted an article that
said something like we’re changing our name to Huffington Post Queer Voices and we
understand that not everyone will think that this is a good decision or be on board with what
we’re doing, but we really feel that this is what’s best for the community, so this is what we’re
doing, whether people like it or not. They went on to say, and we are also going to push for the
media, all media going forward, referring to gay people as Queer people. Basically, they wanted
to eradicate the word gay and lesbian and just have everyone referred to as Queer. And I
thought this is outrageous. I responded to that article in a very thoughtful and what I thought
was a very emotionally measured response.
I stated that for some of us of a certain age or a certain geographical location, hearing that word
is not a word that we want to be called and whether it has a violent connotation or not, which it
does, but even if you don’t think so, I still think it’s just degrading and demeaning. I think it’s
really low rent. I think it’s really trashy and I think it’s an embarrassing term. If I were a Doctor or
a Lawyer or a professional person, I would not want someone to say he’s a queer Doctor. He’s a
queer Lawyer. I think it’s degrading. I expressed this opinion and what happened next was I
started getting attacked from all sides. People were saying of course, you think that as a
gay white male, you’re using your gay male privilege to oppress other people. We don’t all have
it as good as you do and literally, and lots of name calling and attacks and all of these people
banded together and got me banned on Facebook for hate speech because I expressed anger, not even anger, [because] I pushed back against not wanting to be called Queer. So, I got banned for hate speech by all these people.
The reason why I’m telling you that specific story is because I think it’s a clear illustration of what
liberalism does to people’s minds, but particularly as it pertains to the LGBT community and how it kind of really gripped the mentality of individuals within the LGBT community. I mean, why in
the hell would anybody in their 40’s, 50’s or 60’s or whatever who are gay, want to be called Queer or accept this notion that there are people in this world who are non-binary or gender fluid. I mean this, this is nonsense. It makes absolutely no sense. I mean, being gay is a real thing. I even have fought and will continue to fight for Transgender people. I know a lot of
conservatives don’t, but I believe that being Transgender is a very real thing. I think some people are born a male, but they are female or vice-versa.
What I just described to you is the moment where I split from the LGBT community because it
was clear to me after I got attacked in that way and after I got banned by those people in
Huffington Post that this had gone so far that it wasn’t going to come back. It wasn’t savable or
salvageable anymore, and that realization was really painful, but I had to make a decision that
as a gay man I’m no longer a part of this community because I don’t recognize the community I
once knew anymore. The community that I’ve known for years and years and years, by the way,
I’m 41 years old and have been a part of the LGBT community for more than 20 years and this
never would’ve happened before, never would have had people who call themselves non-binary
and gender fluid attacking me with other gay people siding with them and getting me banned on
social media because I stood up against wanting to be referred to as a Queer person.
It was at that moment that I thought to myself, well, this community is no longer recognizable to
me, so I’m no longer willing to be a part of it. And so, that was probably the first step, the second
step was when I just started to see things more clearly.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Evergreen College incident, but if not, at Evergreen College around 2015, 2016 some students banded together and decided that they were going to have a day without a white person.
If you were white, you had to stay home from school and if you didn’t stay home from school
that you were basically admitting to everyone that you’re a rapist. And one of the professors at
the college who’s a big liberal said this isn’t right, saying that you can’t tell somebody of an
entire race that they have to stay home. He was saying, you know, if you want to make your
point, make it a different way, but this is not right and all of the students attacked this teacher,
not physically, but there’s a video of these students all circling around him, screaming at him,
swearing at him, calling him names and it got so heated and contentious that they got rid of that
professor. And then the same students also locked the Dean of the college into a room and
refused to let him out until he met their demands.
It was literally like a school full of Antifa and this is when I started to really become aware for the
first time because I have a best friend who is a conservative and he always told me all
this stuff about, you know, liberals are insane and you know, rape culture is not real and the
wage gap isn’t real and all this stuff and I was like, you’re such an asshole. Yes, it is! Yes it is!
When I had my experience and then he showed me that video of the Evergreen college incident
it was like a light started really going on for me. I was like, Holy Sh**, something is really, really
wrong on the left, like, something is very wrong now.
I was still a Hillary supporter and I voted for Hillary and I believed everything that the media was
saying about Donald Trump, I believed everything that they said about his supporters, I believed
that he was a racist, bigot and homophobe and that all these horrible things being said about
him were true and that he was going to send our country backward in time and that we were in
mortal danger. When he got elected, I also believed the media when they said that he had a 3% chance of
winning, so when she lost and he won, I was devastated and I was horrified and I was scared to death because I believed everything the media had been saying. I kept going on social media for months after the election because I knew a lot of people that I grew up with voted for him because I’m from Nebraska and so I just kept asking “why did you vote for him”?
Why would anyone do this, how can you vote for a racist and a bigot, and I was posting all this
really nasty stuff too, you know, like name calling and nasty pictures of Trump and his family
and stuff and of course no one would answer me.
No one would give me an answer to the question. Well then sometime in January of 2017, I
posted, “I’ll never understand how you can vote for someone who mocked a reporter’s disability
before a cheering crowd and how you could be okay with that”. Finally someone reached out to
me, a woman who was my babysitter since I was a baby, she just said, look, I’m just asking,
have you seen this? And she sent me privately, a video from YouTube entitled “Debunking the
Trump mocking the disabled reporter”. It was a compilation of footage of Donald Trump doing
that exact same voice and that exact same gesture going back 10 years and in every
circumstance where he’s doing it, he’s imitating someone who had been caught in a lie or doing
something shady or groveling because they were being dishonest. When you watch it, it then
becomes very clear that he was not mocking that mans disability at all. He was making fun of
the fact that the man who just happened to be disabled was caught in a lie and I was like, Holy
Sh**. I mean, it was mind-blowing to me because for a week straight, they just kept playing that
little soundbite on a loop of him doing that little gesture with his hand and his voice and they
kept telling us that he had made fun of a disabled person! he made fun of a disabled person!
But that wasn’t entirely true. It was the first time that I thought, why would the media that I
believed in, you know, CNN, MSNBC, even the fucking Huffington Post who, obviously my
relationship with them is not good at this point but, I was like, why would they say that that
happened if it didn’t happen? I started reaching out to people and asking friends, my coworkers
and anyone I knew, have you seen this? What do you think about this? And people started
getting really angry and hostile with me and demanding what are you doing? Do you love Trump
now? Do you support Trump? I said, no, I don’t love Trump, I don’t support Trump, I’m just
asking because this seems really weird because I don’t think that he made fun of that guy’s
disability, like they told us he did and people were really, really hostile and contemptuous and it
became obvious to me that a couple of things were clearer to me now.
Number one, I was asking these questions in earnest because I thought here we are, we’re all
terrified and afraid and I’m coming to you with something that maybe suggests that we don’t
have to be so afraid, maybe we don’t have to be terrified. Maybe the media is making us believe
things are scarier than they actually are, and the people didn’t want to know that and yet it was
almost as though they were reacting like, don’t show me the thing that makes it harder for me to
hate him because I want to hate him, and so it became obvious to me that I wasn’t really safe
asking these questions out loud and It wasn’t okay with other people that I was pursuing this line
of questioning, seeking these answers.
I would get into bed every night and start watching videos and reading anything I could read and
try to understand the information that I was getting from mainstream media. My world was being
turned upside down and I was like, Holy Sh**, I think the media has been lying to me and us
about everything. You know? I decided to go back to the beginning of Trumps campaign and I
started watching all of those moments in FULL context, You know, Trump calls all Mexicans
rapists, Trump advocates for the sexual assault of women. I went back and I revisited all of those moments and watched them all in the proper context and I discovered none of those things that they had said he said or, or what he meant were true.
They built a completely false narrative and then they went out and sought out these little
soundbites and isolated moments that they had taken out of context to support this lie that he
was, you know, a racist, a bigot, a homophobe. The more I discovered, the more I tried to speak
out about it and the worse things got for me. People started cutting me off on social media,
calling me names, stopped inviting me to parties, getting calls on the phone. People started
saying that I was mentally ill, doing drugs, having a nervous breakdown or that I joined a cult
and I’d been brainwashed. I mean, I’ve heard it all.
2017 was a really, really lonely year for me because I started to lose all my friends and no one
would to talk to me. People didn’t want to have anything to do with me, but I wasn’t going to
back down because I had already been in the closet before and as a gay man I knew what it’s
like to have people tell lies about you or I know what it’s like when the whole mob believes a lie
and you’re the only person in the room who knows the truth, you know, when you’re in a room
full of people who were like, Oh, you know, all gay people molest kids, all gay people choose to
be gay etc…
I’ve already been there, done that. I wasn’t going to be silent about this. I realized that now it’s
all the people, the open-minded, tolerant liberal people who are being ignorant as hell and I’m
the only person who knows the truth and they won’t listen to me, so I decided to just keep
speaking out. By 2018, earlier in the year, I just got to the point where I was so tired of living in
this constant state of anxiety and worry that every time I opened my mouth and said something,
someone else is going to turn their back on me or freak out on me or call me names or
slander me on social media so I just said “to hell with it!” I’m going to sit down, write a script and
basically say everything I think, everything that is wrong with liberalism and the Democratic
Party and the liberal media and everything that’s going on the left.
I’m going to shoot a video and put it out and when I do that, then everyone will know once and for all exactly how I feel and
exactly where I stand on all of this stuff. Whoever has a problem with it can just get the hell out
of my life, like all in one swoop. I’ll put it on social media and I’ll probably lose 2000 friends on
the first day and then good, then I’ll know. I will know who isn’t on my side and I’ll know who is
on my side, literally, it will be like when you decide to come out and you make a “I’m Gay!”
video, you know? And then it will be like, okay, 2000 people have a problem with you being gay
and they don’t want to be your friend anymore, but the people who stay, you know, they’re okay,
these people don’t care. It’s cool.
So, I made the video and I put it out, but I realized before I put it out that there was a larger
calling in this, that I was not the only person who is feeling this way and I was not the only
person who was going through this. There were many other people, thousands, if not hundreds
of thousands perhaps even millions of people who have lost friends, lost family, lost jobs, lost so
much just because of what they believe politically, because their conservative or because they
support the President or because they identify as a Republican. These are not bad people, as
the press like to say. Many of these people are not bigots and homophobes and racist, but
rather they are good, decent people who are very open-minded and tolerant, but have been lied
about in the media and so I thought, I’m going to create a campaign in which people who are
fed up like me, who want to walk away from the Democratic Party, walk away from all this crap
and walk away from liberalism can band together and support each other, but also for the
people on the right who have been lied about for so long and have had the narrative of who they
are, hijacked by the liberal media make their testimonials too and take their voice back telling
the truth about what it means to be a conservative.
I have encouraged people to make videos like mine and I created the #walkway campaign and
a group page on Facebook where I uploaded my video. I have told many other people to make your videos and if you’re leaving, the left, tell us why and if you’re on the right and you always
have been on the right, tell us who you really are, the truth about what you believe, about who
you are and people started doing it and the campaign began to take off from there.
You can read the original article and more in the November issue of KWIR Magazine.