Proud Boys planning biggest Pride Month protests yet
Extremist group, the Proud Boys, is planning to target LGBTQ+ people by disrupting Pride Month celebrations in the US.
Plans by the far-right group have been discussed openly on social media channels and tracked by watchdogs, Business Insider reported.
The anti-queer tactics – named by members as Proud month – are aimed at celebrating “straight pride” and “Western values”.
The alt-right group has been making plans for at least two months in a number of Telegram channels, where they share anti-LGBTQ+ messaging – including one person joking that LGBTQ stands for “Let’s Go Bully The Queers”.
Others have posted “Proud” month banners that refer to “anti-straight hate” and “gay child molesters”.
The owner of one channel posted that, in June, “we’ve gotta come at the normies full force and with something new, each day”, according to Business Insider.
“We want to focus on straight love and the love of our straight lives,” they said, highlighting the group’s “fight” to maintain the nuclear-family structure.
Another member suggested they host “Proud Boy story times”, where they would read “American history” to children while wearing the group’s casual uniform – yellow-and-black Fred Perry polo shirts – and post videos on social media to “see the response from the left”.
‘Out of control’
The Proud Boys are also planning to appropriate Juneteenth, a federal holiday observed on 19 June to mark the end of slavery, as their own event (on 17 June) to “break the chains of Pride month”.
One post said the group would know they “aren’t doing enough” to target Pride if they weren’t “getting blow back from the f*g community” by mid-May. “If they aren’t flipping s**t, we are only tooting our own horns, ya know,” it read.
The co-founder of Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, Heidi Beirich, responded by telling Business Insider that she has concerns violence will occur in June.
“It’s frankly getting a little out of control,” she said. “What happened last year, it was probably just a whiff of what we might see this year, after 12 months of organising.”
The news outlet quoted the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project which stated that, among far-right groups, the Proud Boys participated most often at anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations in 2022, with the number of appearances reaching at least 174.
Emily Kaufman, from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, echoed this by saying: The Proud Boys are really the most prolific targeters of drag queen story hours and LGBTQ+ events generally.”
She said the extremist group was recruiting new members by using a “baseless, dangerous narrative” to paint LGBTQ+ people as groomers.
The ADL is offering safety guidance through its 25 regional offices in the US, Kaufman added.
They were not trying to scare people, she said, just make sure queer people stayed safe. Key advice was not to approach members of the group, given their history of violence.
The Proud Boys grew in notoriety during Donald Trump’s presidency and has been designated as a terrorist group in Canada and New Zealand.
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