His departure comes weeks after his appointment to the role brought criticism over his aggressive online behavior.
Casey Flores, the president of the Virginia Log Cabin Republicans, was to begin his appointment to the board on July 1. Advisory board members advise the governor on issues related to LGBTQ+ Virginians and policy. Flores was sworn in for the position in late June.
“I was told that he was compelled to resign,” a Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board member told The Advocate on the condition of anonymity when discussing internal matters, “which is great because [the board] agreed that having him there would have a negative impact and wouldn’t allow productive work by the board because there would have been a lot of focus on what he would be saying.”
However, Flores disputed the claim and told The Advocate the resignation was not forced.
“I’m moving to Florida, so I don’t really think I could be on the Virginia LGBTQ Advisory Board,” Flores said in a phone interview Friday morning.
Flores, 31, said he left of his own accord two weeks ago and that his departure has nothing to do with his behavior online.
“I would not have resigned for any other reason other than moving,” he says.
“Casey Flores withdrew and resigned from the Board as he is accepting a professional opportunity outside of the Commonwealth,” a spokesperson for Youngkin told The Advocate in a statement.
Flores came under fire and was the subject of media reports about his social media presence several weeks ago. Critics said many of Flores’s tweets were derogatory, misogynistic, inappropriate, or bigoted. In one tweet, he accused Vice President Kamala Harris of “suck[ing] the right dick” to reach her position.
At the time, Flores reportedly agreed to tone down his tweets.
He said he stands by everything he posted online, including the tweet about Vice President Harris. “Why do people get so mad when you speak the truth?” he asked. “Is it hurtful to criticize a public figure?”
Flores said he plans to move by Tuesday or “very soon” afterward. He spoke to The Advocate while packing up his house.
“The gay left is the nastiest of people online, and so when it comes from the gay right, it’s all of a sudden a problem,” he said. At first hesitant to go further into details, Flores added, “I am bowing out of Virginia. I’m moving to be with David Leatherwood, who I love, and I’m very excited.”
Earlier this year, Leatherwood, a Florida political operative, praised Christina Pushaw, the press secretary of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for launching the hateful and false attack on LGBTQ+ people as “groomers.”
Speaking to The Advocate in her personal capacity, board member Stephanie Merlo said she didn’t believe Flores was sincere in apologizing after his tweets were criticized in the media, but “I wish him the best in his new adventures.”
Youngkin will benefit from Flores’s departure, Virginia Pride director James Millner said. In the past, Millner has criticized Youngkin for failing to embrace the LGBTQ+ community sincerely. Despite this, he said he understands that the Republican governor cannot be seen as “caving to the left” or “cancel culture” from a political perspective.
“Even if Gov. Youngkin doesn’t want to say so publicly or can’t say so publicly, I get that, but if Casey Flores was asked to resign, then I want to say thank you to the governor,” Millner said.
In response to a question about why he aligns with the political right, Flores explained that he praises the left for advancing LGBTQ+ equality but said the community has a victim complex.
“We’ve made it in America — gays have,” Flores said. “This is the greatest country in the world to be gay in. But maybe there are some things here and there that need to be ironed out.”
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the gay left for fighting so hard for marriage, adoption rights, and not being able to be fired for being gay,” he said. “I really wish that they would enjoy the fruits of their labor, but a lot of people on the gay left act like they’re oppressed, and they’re doing it from the nicest condos in the nicest neighborhoods in the nicest cities, and they’re saying ‘it’s still a terrible place to live.’ That’s what’s confusing to me.”
State Del. Paul Krizek celebrated the news of Flores’s departure.
“The fact that this gubernatorial appointment to the LGBTQ+ Advisory Board didn’t last very long is a good thing and reinforces the reality that here in Virginia civility and common decency still are the rule and that bad behavior, especially online, is neither rewarded nor ignored," Krizek told The Advocate.
He added, "I am not privy to exactly how this resignation of Mr. Flores came to be, but if the governor had anything to do with it, I appreciate it."
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