The Proud Boys recently made headlines by celebrating President Trump's reply at last week's debate, when he was asked to condemn white supremacists. Trump instead blamed "antifa and the left" for violence and told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by." Meanwhile, the FBI classifies the Proud Boys as an extremist group, and the US research and advocacy organization SPLC lists them as a hate group.
But now, the LGBT community has stepped in to make the hashtag #proudboys known for entirely different reasons. Gay couples on Twitter are now flooding Twitter with pictures of love, sharing snaps with their spouses and partners. Star Trek’s George Takei initiated the idea, tweeting: “What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys. I bet it would mess them up real bad. #ReclaimingMyShine.”
Takei’s post went viral, and many others joined in. The official Twitter account of the Canadian Armed Forces in the United States took part too and shared an image of two men kissing, which amassed 197.3K likes. #ProudBoys is finally trending for a good reason, and people on social media couldn’t be happier.
The Proud Boys supremacist group has no official presence on Twitter since the social media site banned them in 2018 for abusive language and hate speech. Thus, they were celebrating their newly found fame, thanks to Trump, on Parler. Parler is a relatively new social media app which gained its popularity among conservatives.
On Sunday, though, gay men on Twitter actively seized control of the #proudboys hashtag, posting videos of men happily embracing, kissing, and celebrating love, calling themselves the real #proudboys.
“We’re proud of all the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride,” Takei, who initiated the campaign, wrote and posted a picture of himself and his husband Brad. “Our community and allies answered hate with love.” His post received nearly 94,300 likes.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Proud Boys group named Enrique Tarrio said he doesn’t get what these men are aiming at. He told CNN: “I think it's hysterical. This isn't something that's offensive to us. It's not an insult. We aren't homophobic. We don't care who people sleep with. People think it's going to bother us. It doesn't.”
But the Anti-Defamation League states that the Proud Boys’ ideology is “misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration."
Jim Parsons and his husband Todd Spiewak on their wedding day. Proud Boys.