“Look up what’s trending now on #ProudBoys. You’re welcome, Internet.” -George Takei
When Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate and instead directed the “Proud Boys” hate group to “stand back and stand by,” the #ProudBoys hashtag surged with hateful rhetoric on Twitter, but the LGBTQ community quickly stepped in to drown out the hate.
George Takei, Star Trek star, activist, and beloved King of the Internet, was at it again with a sly suggestion posed to the LGBTQ community. On Thursday, Takei wrote on Twitter:
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
The initiative rapidly gained momentum, as LGBTQ people of all kinds posted photos of their own relationships, flooding a once-hateful hashtag with love, support, and positivity. The message is clear: when faced with hate, we won’t stand back or stand by. One tweet at a time, the gay internet is showing the world the true meaning of pride.
This takes on more meaning as LGBTQ people across the country pause reflect upon their personal stories as part of National Coming Out Day on October 11. More than ever, we must acknowledge the cultural and political importance of this brave act and celebrate how meaningful it is to fully embrace your authentic LGBTQ self.
October is also LGBT History Month, which is not only a time of recognizing important moments in the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – such as the anniversary of the first LGBT Rights March on Washington on October 14, 1979 – it’s also a moment that can inspire social and political change.