The LGBTQ community has reclaimed the Proud Boys hashtag after the far-right group gained notoriety at the presidential debate on Tuesday when President Donald Trump refused to denounce white supremacists and instead told the organization’s members to “stand back and stand by.” Now, men across social media are filling the #ProudBoys feed with photos displaying gay love.
The trend was seemingly started the day following the debate when interest in the Proud Boys began to spike. It was quickly met with comments from people on social media who wanted the hashtag associated with the Southern Poverty Law Center-classified hate group to be turned into a trend focused on spreading love.
But it wasn’t until Star Trek actor George Takei had retweeted Pride photos using the hashtag on Thursday and highlighted the growing trend with his own call to action that the campaign started to take off. He even added the hashtag #ReclaimingMyShine.
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. I bet it would mess them up real bad. #ReclaimingMyShine— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 1, 2020
“What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys,” Takei wrote. “I bet it would mess them up real bad.”
Takei tells Yahoo Life that he and his husband Brad “watched with horror as the president refused on national television to condemn white supremacy” during the debate and felt that they needed to take action.
“We had to do something to counteract their hate,” he says. “Pride is an idea associated with the LGBTQ+ community, and we wanted to keep it that way. So we came up with a way to flood social media and redefine what #ProudBoys means.”
Thousands of people immediately responded to Takei’s tweet to praise the idea or to participate themselves.
#ProudBoys hashtag has been hijacked by gay men and it’s amazing. 🤣🏳️🌈— Dana Goldberg (@DGComedy) October 4, 2020
The claiming of #ProudBoys by Gay Twitter may be the best thing to happen in 2020.— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) October 4, 2020
On Sunday, Takei shared his own photo with husband Brad in tribute to their 12 years of marriage.
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. pic.twitter.com/GRtSH1ijQ8— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 4, 2020
“The outpouring has been incredible. Now when you search #ProudBoys you see only expressions of love and gay fabulousness. (I understand the Proud Boys are not very happy about this.),” Takei says. “It is so important to answer hate with love, and the community and our allies truly stepped it up. Brad and I posted our own #PrideBoys picture, celebrating over twelve years of legal marriage, 34 years together. Love will win out, and this helps prove it.”
Takei’s participation in the trending campaign enticed even more couples to share their lovely moments on social media, including Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk, in an effort to keep #ProudBoys in the hands of the LGBTQ community.
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