Gay Twitter Trumps the Proud Boys
By: Ben Thomas
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
These were the words that echoed across social media and news coverage of last week’s bin fire presidential debate, in which President Trump failed to denounce the far right extremist group. It was a shocking moment amidst the cacophony of noise that came from Trump during the debate that immediately trended on Twitter.
Days later, #ProudBoys was trending again albeit for a much different reason. As a counterpoint to the hateful and discriminatory views of the Proud Boys, the LGBTQ+ community flooded the #ProudBoys hashtag with images and messages of love, pride and acceptance. Photos of men kissing men, women kissing women, rainbow flags flying and people celebrating their authentic selves were shared, liked and retweeted as a way to change the conversation from one of hate to love. A longstanding ban from Twitter meant that Proud Boys couldn’t respond, but they took to the conservative social media platform, Parler, to vent their frustration with the hashtag hijack.
The whole thing is incredibly symbolic of an administration led by Donald Trump who has failed to denounce white supremacist groups on more than one occasion. And while taking over a hashtag is a small act compared to voting, it sends a clear message that hate should never be tolerated, whether it’s from the Proud Boys or the President.