We recently reported on the surge in membership seen by the LGBT gun group Pink Pistols since the shooting in an Orlando gay club. Now, the group is getting some major, national attention.
This story on rollingstone.com profiles the organization, with author Andrew Belonsky (who is admittedly inexperienced with firearms) getting some shooting lessons from Jeff Bloovman, a Philadelphia gun instructor and member of PP.
The mission of the group is to get LGBT people more comfortable with firearms and encourage them to fight hate crimes by being prepared to defend themselves.
The story says Pink Pistols’ membership has climbed from around 1,500 to about 6,500 since the attack.
The story also gives a nice bit on the group’s background:
“The Pink Pistols formed around 2000, after gay journalist Jonathan Rauch – still outraged by Matthew Shepard’s 1998 murder, and knowing gay men who stopped attacks with guns – published an article on Salon. [Gays] should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry,’ he wrote, noting that they should do it in a way to garner as much publicity as possible. And, as an added bonus to self-protection, Pink Pistols could erode tenacious stereotypes, challenging the image of cringing weakness, especially for those who internalized it. ‘Pink pistols,’ he wrote, ‘would do far more for the self-esteem of the next generation of gay men and women than any number of hate-crime laws or anti-discrimination statutes.’
“Rauch went on: ‘If it became widely known that homosexuals carry guns and know how to use them, not many bullets would need to be fired. In fact, not all that many gay people would need to carry guns, as long as gay-bashers couldn’t tell which ones did.’ Just knowing that a gay person could have a gun would deter a potential attacker.”
Belonsky went on to outline Bloovman’s self-defense gear, which includes a Glock 17 and spare magazine, two knives, pepper spray, a flashlight, and a medical trauma kit including a Russell Chest Seal.
“I wish that I didn’t have to carry all this crap,” Bloovman says in the story. “But unfortunately there are people who want to hurt you. I carry guns because I want to protect myself and my loved ones and potentially an innocent third party from being victimized.”
“There’s nothing pretty about this,” he said. “It’s morally offensive to me to shot someone.” ‘But, sadly, it one day may be necessary.’
Later in the article, Bloovman says he’s an action movie fanatic and a lifetime martial artist who came out late in life and has been vexed by the gay-guy or gun-guy balance. “This is one of the reason why I struggled with my own sexual orientation; I was like ‘How can I be doing martial arts and shooting for 25 years and (be gay).’
“What I’ve figured out through being honest is those things are not exclusive to one another,” he says in the story. “Self-protection, firearms, firearm culture is for everybody.”
Dylan West, a PP member from Atlanta, echoed Bloovman’s statements.
“I haven’t had an issue when people (at the range) have found out that i’m gay.” Jose Morales, a Philadelphia-based NRA-certified gun instructor agreed. “The general gun culture is a very open culture. We don’t judge people by their looks, their ethnicity or their sexual orientation. We have more in common, which is usually the desire to protect ourselves with safe and responsible gun ownership.”