Gay, Conservative Texan Thought COVID-19 a Hoax, with Tragic Results for Himself and Family

Thursday July 30, 2020

Texan Tony Green believed that COVID-19 was a hoax. The Dallas-based consultant and lobbyist was a loyal Republican who voted for Trump in 2016 and believed that the virus was part of a vast conspiracy to tank the economy and defeat the President in November.

But he "has now had a dramatic change of heart after he and his entire family tested positive for COVID-19 following a party at his house," Business Insider reports.

And he has gone public with a powerful essay published in the LGBTQ publication The Dallas Voice entitled "A Harsh Lesson in the Reality of COVID-19" that details his about-face.

Calling himself "a gay conservative" who "often juggles persecution for my sexuality while being true to my values," he admits to "traveling deep into the conspiracy trap over COVID-19. All the defiant behavior of Trump's more radical and rowdy cult followers, I participated in it. I was a hard-ass that stood up for my 'God-given rights.'"

He believed it was a "hoax," believing "the mainstream media and the Democrats were using it to create panic, crash the economy and destroy Trump's chances at re-election."

After months of social distancing, NBC News reports that "he and his partner hosted a party for their parents on June 13. Green and his partner are not married but have been together nearly 9 years and he said he considers his partner's family as his in-laws."

No one wore masks or practiced social distancing at the event. "We just felt the worst was behind the country because everything was easy, things were reopening and none of us were experiencing any symptoms," Green told NBC.

The next morning, Business Insider reports, "Green woke up sick, and over the following days the virus continued to spread throughout both his and his partner's families — including his father-in-law's mother, who died of COVID-19 on July 1."

"Green himself and his father-in-law (Rafael Ceja) were both hospitalized for the virus."

Then between June 17 and 23, "Ceja's mother fell ill and was admitted to hospital where she died on July 1 after suffering from pneumonia caused by the virus," writes the Daily Mail.

"On July 12, Green learned that his father-in-law Ceja had been placed on a life support machine after also suffering from pneumonia," the Daily Mail report contiues.

"His mother-in-law, Marisa, called him 'crying and screaming in terror' to tell him the bad news."

Green had set-up a GoFundMe page to defray costs of Ceja's illness, but his wife has refused to accept any of the more than $7,000 raised because of some family members' "continuous harassment and vindictive behavior," he wrote on the GoFundMe page. He is returning the money to those who donated.

By the time he went public, 14 people had been infected from either attending the event or coming in contact with someone who had.

"Green said he decided to publicly document his family's diagnoses because he knows many people in the Dallas area who are unconvinced the virus can be deadly and of the importance of social distancing. The decision has divided his family," he told NBC News.

"You cannot imagine the guilt I feel, knowing that I hosted the gathering that led to so much suffering. You cannot imagine my guilt at having been a denier, carelessly shuffling through this pandemic, making fun of those wearing masks and social distancing. You cannot imagine my guilt at knowing that my actions convinced both our families it was safe when it wasn't," he writes in his Dallas Voice op-ed.

"For those who deny the virus exists or who downplay its severity, let me assure you: The coronavirus is very real and extremely contagious. Before you even know you have it, you've passed it along to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors."

But, Green told NBC News, he has friends in Dallas who do not think the virus is a threat to their ways of life.

"I don't think they're going to change their opinions unless it bites them in the butt like it did me," he said.