Last week, at the first 2020 U.S Presidential Debate between Former Vice President Joe Biden and President of the United States Donald Trump, the current reigning orange-tinted leader chose to not denounce Proud Boys, an aggressive far-right militia group in the United States. Instead, he gave them one subtle command, “stand down and stand by.” It was the biggest takeaway from the debate, and it was chilling.
So, in amazing news, the gays have given us what we want (kinda) and issued a giant Fuck You to Mr. Trump and the Proud Boys, taking over their alt-right hashtag on Twitter with wholesome, picture-perfect gay families and couples. Take that, fascists.
The viral act of anti-far-right extremism came about as all good forms of online activism have in our lord and saviour 2020, through the power and might of K-Pop stans. On the 2nd of October, Star Trek star and LGBTQIA+ activist George Takei sent out the BTS bat-signal. “I wonder if the BTS and TikTok kids can help LGBTs with this,” he tweeted.
“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.”
Soon after and over the weekend, the hashtag was flooded with queer love. The once all-white supremacist tag was now an unapologetic celebration of a same-sex couple’s fifteen year anniversary, or images of queer icons like Freddie Mercury. People from Queer Eye star and famous home designer Bobby Berk, TikToker World Of Xtra, Florida’s first ever LGBTQIA+ and Latinx legislator, Representative Carlos G. Smith and, even the Twitter account for the Canadian Armed Forces joined in the trend.
According to Forbes, “The Proud Boys describe themselves as a “western chauvinist” organisation and have publicly broadcast white supremacist messaging since their founding in 2016. They have no official presence on Twitter since the social media site banned them in 2018.” Instead, they have spent the last week celebrating their newfound fame on Parler, a new social media app for conservative Americans (lmao), and, naturally, aren’t too big fans of the recent not-Instagram takeover.
Since the hashtag has been claimed by LGBTQIA+ activists, Facebook has allegedly decided to ban the tag.
It should also be noted that Proud Boys is a white supremacist group, so white gays, who make up a majority of these posts, aren’t really the exact people who can reclaim this term. While we can still reflect on all the wonderful messages and celebrations of queer love on Twitter, it would be amazing to see more gays of colour and expressions of colour. Still, as George Takei said, “Look up what’s trending now on #ProudBoys. You’re welcome, Internet.
Header image source: worldofxtra Instagram.