PARIS: In an unexpected turn of events, while members of the Proud Boys boasted that they had been quoted by Donald Trump in the first presidential debate, the far-right militia also attracted the attention of the LGBT+ community.
Thousands of internet users hijacked the #ProudBoys hashtag on Twitter to share photos and other messages in support of the LGBT+ community.
Among them is American actor George Takei, who participated in this initiative by sharing on Twitter a photograph in which he poses with his partner Brad Altman.
“Brad and I are #ProudBoys, legally married for 12 years now. And we’re proud of all 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 wrote in his post, which received around 92,000 likes on Twitter.
Many media personalities and internet users followed George Takei’s lead by sharing their own inspiring photographs and testimonials with the hashtag #ProudBoys, which on Sunday, October 4 could be found at the head of Twitter’s trending topics.
The Canadian armed forces also took part in this protest movement by publishing a portrait of soldiers kissing on one of its accounts. An image that generated more than 215,000 likes and 27,100 retweets.
“They were silent. They were shunned. They weren’t always welcomed. This is about us, then, now,” reads a caption on the image.
“Well sir, we’re ready”
As surprising as it may be, this movement to hijack the hashtag #ProudBoys comes a few days after Donald Trump was seen as giving coded messages to the Proud Boys group of white supremacists to “stand back” and “stand by” during his televised debate against Joe Biden.
These turbulent statements were in response to a question from journalist and moderator Chris Wallace about the use of violence by white supremacists and other extreme right-wing militias.
Members of the Proud Boys quickly appropriated the American president’s expression, “stand back and stand by,” which they shared on the social networks Parler by adding their militia logo.
“President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!” commented Joe Biggs, a co-founder of the group.
In the aftermath of the first televised debate of the US presidential campaign, Donald Trump retracted his statements about the Proud Boys, saying he didn’t know who they were: “I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work,” he added. A bit of backpedaling, that, unsurprisingly, was unconvincing to many.