Many people express their support for the action. However, the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, does not understand what the gay community wants to achieve with this. “I think it’s hysterical. This isn’t offensive to us. It’s not insult. We’re not homophobic,” he told CNN. “We don’t care who people sleep with. They think this cares about us. It doesn’t.”
Tarrio also believes that the hashtag is now being used in the wrong way. “One of their messages is that they want to silence us. But when you’re trying to drown out other people, you’re not progressive.”
Against immigration, for weapons
The Proud Boys is a right-wing extremist movement whose members openly bear arms and do not shy away from violence. The group describes itself as a ‘pro-Western and fraternal’ organization. They are against immigration, for the gun law and stand for the traditional division of roles between men and women. The Proud Boys are also active in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The movement was founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, one of the founders of Vice Media. McInnes named the group after the song Proud of Your Boy from the Disney movie Aladdin. He left the group after two years, in his own words because the members of the organization mainly turned against non-white people, while he mainly wanted to stand up for ‘Western values’.
In August 2017, at the so-called Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, the Proud Boys became more famous. At that demonstration, which also attracted neo-Nazis, a female counter-demonstrator was killed when a right-wing extremist demonstrator drove a car into the crowd. A number of those present were also seriously injured.