LGBTQ Twitter users take over Proud Boys hashtag
After President Donald Trump refused to condemn the far-right group The Proud Boys during the first presidential debate, LGBTQ Twitter users took matters into their own hands by hijacking the #Proudboys hashtag.
Led by Star Trek star and LGBTQ activist George Takei, gays posted pictures of themselves and used the hashtag to send messages of love and pride.
Takei raises the call to LGBTQ Twitter users
The trouble started when Trump said the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by” during the debate last week Because of this, Takei took a page from BTS fans and Tiktok users on Twitter Thursday.
“I wonder if the BTS and TikTok kids can help LGBTs with this. What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys,” he posted on Twitter.
“I bet it would mess them up real bad. #ReclaimingMyShine,” he added. This message vent viral as thousands of people began to tweet and retweet their messages using the hashtag.
As an example, Takei posted a picture of himself and his husband: “”Brad and I are #ProudBoys, legally married for 12 years now. And we’re proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign.”
“Our community and allies answered hate with love, and what could be better than that,” he said.
On Saturday, Takei tweeted: “Look up what’s trending now on #ProudBoys. You’re welcome, Internet.”
LGBTQ Twitter users versus white supremacists
Among those who answered the call were Bobby Berk, star of the Netflix show Queer Eye, who tweeted a picture of himself with his husband: “Look at these cute lil #ProudBoys.”
Also posting a picture of himself and his husband were congressman Carlos G Smith, Florida’s first LGBTQ Latino legislator, who “Your two favorite #ProudBoys are here standing by, ready to VOTE!”
Jon Cooper, a former campaign chair for Barack Obama, shared a picture of himself and his family: “My husband Rob and I are two #ProudBoys. Here we are with our five wonderful children.”
Even the Canadian Armed Forces in the US took up the call by tweeting a picture of a serviceman kissing his partner.
In their post, they said: “If you wear our uniform, know what it means. If you’re thinking about wearing our uniform, know what it means. Love is love. Know what we mean?”
Later on, the Canadian Navy’s later retweeted the image, as did the Twitter account of the HCMS Winnipeg.
Proud Boys answer back using Parler social media
Because the Proud Boys are banned from Twitter ever since 2018, they responded to the trend on Parler– a two-year old social medai app– with their messages of hate.
Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys’ chairman, accused the left of turning their name into “a slur.” They also said the hijacking of the hashtag was an attempt “to drown out the voices of our supporters.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center says the Proud Boys– first founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes– is a hate group though the latter describes themselves as a “western chauvinist” organization.
Because Trump had refused to condemn white supremacists during the debate, Megan Squire, a professor of computer science at Elon University in North Carolina studying online extremism, said the group now feels “validated.”
Meanwhile, Amy Cooter, a Vanderbilt University senior lecturer who studies nationalism, race and ethnicity, said the group– while denying supporting white supremacy– tolerates racism among its members.