If most of America didn't know who the Proud Boys were before last week, they know now. President Trump refused to clearly denounce the far-right organization, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, at Tuesday's debate, causing a commotion with his words to "stand back and stand by." Since then, the president has claimed he doesn't really know who the group is and said it should "stand down," but an entire community is now fighting back against the hate with another tactic: by claiming the Proud Boys' hashtag as their own. Gay men have been posting photos online showing themselves with their significant others, along with #ProudBoys, and while it's not clear who started the campaign, actor George Takei gave it a major push by recruiting "BTS and TikTok kids" to help out with the effort, CBS News reports.
"What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys," Takei tweeted Thursday. "I bet it would mess them up real bad." His tweet went viral, and soon the internet was teeming with declarations of love, along with the hashtag. Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the original Proud Boys, scoffed at the campaign. "People think it's going to bother us. It doesn't," he tells CNN, though posts by others in his group seem to contradict that, Forbes notes. At any rate, it's been inspirational for those exhibiting gay pride. "Seeing the hashtag was so uplifting," one participant says. Takei even posted his own "Proud Boys" story, along with a pic of Brad Takei, his husband of 12 years. "We're proud of all of the gay folks who have stepped up to reclaim our pride in this campaign," George Takei tweeted. "Our community and allies answered hate with love, and what could be better than that." (Read more Proud Boys stories.)