Interview: Life in America after Roe v Wade
In this episode, Wayne discusses the urgent need for LGBTQ self-defense to beat back Nazis invading Pride events. He also interviews Terry Cosgrove of Chicago’s PersonalPac. He talks about life in a post Roe v Wade America.
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We Must Never Allow Neo-Nazis to Cancel LGBTQ Pride
If the Proud Boys show up, make sure they meet the angry Pride Boys
I’ve contemplated what I would have done in 1930’s Nazi Germany as Hitler rose to power. As a gay Jewish person, I’d like to think that I would have ferociously battled against the fascists, whether on the streets or in beer halls. Sadly, I may get the chance to find out as white supremacists and neo-Nazis have organized to invade and incite riots at LGBTQ events.
In Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho a disaster was barely averted by an alert tipster who called police regarding a group of white supremacists traveling to Pride in the Park.
The person who notified police said they “looked like a little army.” Officers swooped in and arrested 31 members of Patriot Front who were in the back of a U-Haul. The men were charged with conspiracy to riot — a misdemeanor offense.
Patriot Front’s clear intent was to brutalize and terrorize Pride participants so they would be too scared to exercise their First Amendment rights. The authorities found masks, shields, shin guards and a smoke grenade.
“They came to riot downtown,” said Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White. “I don’t think this would have been as successful had we not had one extremely astute citizen who saw something that was very concerning to them and reported it to us.”
The question for the LGBTQ community is what should we do in the face of organized terrorists who are plotting to violently disrupt Pride? There won’t always be a tipster, the police won’t necessarily be as professional in every instance, so we must prepare for the next U-Haul of extremists to successfully penetrate our Pride celebrations.
“We’re seeing this broadening out of the targets that people across the supremacist spectrum are choosing to intimidate or harass or harm,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, who tracks domestic extremism at the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University. “It is part of a broader range of anti-democratic and extremist types of events that are happening.”
“One hundred people can impact a city of one-million,” Joyner said. “Let’s concentrate on those twelve who are true force multipliers.”
The neo-Nazis who traveled to Idaho’s Pride were the personification of Joyner’s sinister strategy. In this case, there weren’t 12, but 31 thugs who were hoping to create a disproportionate “impact” on a far larger group of people. They acted as “force multipliers” who could use terror to potentially end Pride.
Sadly, this is the perverse new normal in MAGA America. Knowing that these incidents will happen again, we must set some ground rules on how to respond:
Rule 1: Every LGBTQ Pride organization in America should make it official policy to never cancel an event due to threats or intimidation. To do so would be the equivalent of giving into the demands of terrorists or paying ransom for hostages. In the case of smaller events in rural areas, if we need to bus in volunteers to defend Pride, so be it.
Canceling LGBTQ Pride does not protect the community. Instead, it invites future violence and undermines visibility, which is our greatest political asset. If we hide and retreat into the closet, we are significantly less safe in the long run. Together we can fend off threats, while if we atomize in fear, hate groups can come after and destroy us individually, one hate crime at a time. If right wing hoodlums believe that they can successfully terrorize us with impunity, they will be emboldened. The choice we face is to stand up now with self-respect or temporarily protect ourselves by running away, which will only strengthen these monsters.
Rule 2: We are peaceful people, but not pacifist. Our modern movement was founded in rebellion and blood at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Whatever it takes, we must stand up and never back down. That said, whenever possible, we must follow the law and allow the police to do their jobs. We should never start trouble and must avoid violence if possible.
However, in the event these goons infiltrate our events and attack our families and friends, we aren’t obliged to be victimized. No able-bodied LGBTQ person should ever turn their backs on Nazis or white supremacists to run away. There must be grave consequences for attempting to cause harm. These creeps will never love us, but we can certainly make them fear us.
A disproportionate number of gay people lift weights. If white supremacists show up to pick fights at Pride, it’s time we make use of our overpriced gym memberships. If some of the men showing off their marvelous physiques at Pride confronted neo-Nazis, they wouldn’t stick around for the drag show. No, they’d scurry back into the woodwork with their tails between their legs.
Positive results for standing up to these undesirables isn’t mere speculation. In July 2021, 200 members of Patriot Front marched in Philadelphia and were confronted by angry locals who refused to be intimidated. Like the cowards they are, when challenged to a real fight, they absconded.
Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Crum told WPVI-TV that Patriot Front members felt threatened and “literally ran away from the people of Philadelphia.” As they did…they threw what appeared to be smoke bombs “to cover their retreat as they fled.”
Rule 3: Group’s like Patriot Front are looking to use events like Pride to recruit new members. Their goal is to exploit social media to make their cause look glamorous. It’s our job as LGBTQ people to foil their plans.
Let’s take two hypothetical scenarios captured on smart phones for social media. In the first, right wing thugs cause a riot at a Pride event, beat up dozens of LGBTQ people, and hundreds of people run away crying and shrieking. To online losers searching for meaning in their empty lives, this outcome looks exciting. Why not join the bigot band and get in on the action?
In the second scenario, the Nazis get their asses kicked and slither away from Pride like Olympic sprinters. They throw smoke bombs to conceal their retreat and hightail it back to their exurbs. The event ends in shame, humiliation and their little hate group turns into a feckless laughingstock on Twitter.
Which situation is more likely to help with recruitment? Which outcome would decrease the likelihood of the same right-wing hooligans returning to Pride the following year?
Rule 4: We must create powerful volunteer self-defense units to protect LGBTQ events. These groups would be first responders if the police didn’t do their jobs or were caught off-guard. Have you ever seen the size of the bears in our community? If thirty bearded, powerful, 250-pound bears wielding baseball bats had been at Coeur d’ Alene, had the neo-Nazi’s shown up they would have bought rainbow cotton candy and returned home.
Members of Patriot Front are quintessential bullies. They are cowards who want to inflict beatings, but don’t want a real fight. Most are sadists who derive joy from causing pain, not masochists who enjoy receiving it. Let them meet some pissed off Dykes on Bikes, and I guarantee they would take a hike.
Proof of the Patriot Front’s (or Proud Boys) stunning cowardice is evident in how they dress. They drape themselves from head-to-toe in theatrical, silly looking protective gear where they resemble roller derby queens. God forbid these “tough guys” have their precious, delicate little faces scratched or bruised! No, they aren’t looking for a real brawl or a fair fight. They are searching for easy targets to give them the appearance of toughness to lift their non-existent self-esteem. After all, if they had even a shard of self-worth, they wouldn’t be wearing fluffy kneepads at Gay Pride searching for trouble.
Rule 5: Those who aren’t particularly skilled with fisticuffs can still help the effort. If white supremacists start a melee at Pride, one can film videos to help track down these degenerates on the Internet. Make sure they are identified by name and address, so police (or the public) can find them.
Also, send videos to their places of employment. If you look at pictures of the terrorists in Idaho (above), most are clean-cut, and one would never suspect they are neo-Nazis. They likely hide their extremism at work – so we must ensure that everyone in the workplace knows what these rats truly believe so they’ll be fired. Unemployed neo-Nazis can’t afford gas money to storm the next Pride event.
It’s critically important to understand that the hate industry is a well-organized global phenomenon. Right-wing terror groups, particularly in Europe and the United States, strategize and work together on nefarious plots. American hate organizations are now threatening attacks on Pride events and library drag readings because their European counterparts previously had success. They used fear to nix Pride events in Europe, particularly in the East. Russia’s violent treatment of its LGBTQ citizens has served as an action plan for our homegrown extremists.
The LGBTQ community cannot show weakness in the face of terror. We have fought too hard and sacrificed too many people in our quest for liberation. As we confront new enemies, we must commit to never returning to the closet or surrendering the public square to fascists dedicated to our destruction. These are scary times, but we must rise above fear to face down the fanatics. If the Proud Boys show up, make sure they meet the angry Pride Boys (and Girls).