A group of LGBTI people in Rochester, New York have been learning how to properly shoot guns.
Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club was founded this past year as a response to the rise of extremist groups like the Alt-Right. The 18 dues-paying members are all LGBTI, and many are just learning about guns for the first time. Members meet once a month to shoot at still targets and clay pigeons.
‘It’s a way to assert our strength,’ says 27-year-old Jake Allen, who helped create the group. ‘Often, queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenseless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that. And I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves.’
According to Allen, the Rochester-based group is not the only Trigger Warning chapter. There’s a chapter in Atlanta, and people in ten other cities have expressed interest in starting one. A similar group, the Pittsburgh-based Pink Pistols, saw an increase in membership after the election and after the Charlottesville rally.
Trigger Warning members stress that their group is about self-defense and empowerment, not aggression. The Club also helps to foster a sense of community.
‘We have each others’ backs,’ says club member Lore McSpadden, who never even touched a gun before this group was founded. ‘We’re acknowledging our fear of a world in which conservatives are the only ones who are armed.’
What’s the Club’s mission?
‘We have, as individuals, survived hate crimes, employment and housing discrimination, discrimination by medical professionals, homelessness, rape, suicide attempts, domestic violence, rejection by families and society at large, and countless other traumas and prejudices,’ the Club’s Facebook page states.
‘We have survived the oppressive weight of intersectional discrimination involving racism, sexism, classism, sizeism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism, and the many other dimensions of hate and privilege that permeate society.’
‘We decided to call ourselves Trigger Warning not in order to downplay the seriousness of PTSD and the many ways that traumatic experiences have shaped the queer and trans communities, but rather to reframe these traumas from a position of unapologetic empowerment.’
‘The things that have triggered us in the past have brought us together and inspired us to organize. The ways that we have been harmed have caused us to heal stronger than we were before. The structures of heteronormativity, racial privilege, sexual privilege, and class privilege have tried to break us. The current regime is attempting to formalize our destruction under the guise of religious freedom, but they will not succeed.’
GSN has reached out to Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club, requesting an interview.