Proud to be an ally

The She Shepherd and I have engaged in various civil rights and gun rights activities throughout the years. I try not to soap box too much on this blog about personal freedom, natural rights, and equality, but I will ask you to read just a little bit more today, please.

The first time I used my handgun for self defense was in 1996. I was still in college, and leaving Denny’s Restaurant at 2AM with my gay male housemate. Four men entered the vestibule as we were trying to leave. The interior and exterior doors closed at the same time and everything smelled of beer. The first two men passed us by, ignoring whatever my housemate was talking about. The third man heard my housemate’s voice and said, “fucking faggot.”

His three friends stopped.

Suddenly I was trapped in a glass booth with four agitated drunk guys and my housemate, who was going to be useless in a fight. I was pocket carrying at the time, and pointed my G26 at the first three who had circled back to close distance with us. The frame of my subcompact pushed up against the fabric of my jacket.

“Come on,” my housemate said, pulling me past the last guy and out into the fall air, “let’s get out of here.”

And then he said something I never forgot, and it spurs my advocacy to this day:

“It happens all the time.”

This pin gives anti-gun liberals fits. How can I support gays AND guns??? o_O

Last Sunday we volunteered at the Pink Pistols booth at this year’s Pride Parade. Pride rallies recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) people and is a massive event in cities worldwide. The one in our area was rumored to have 200,000 attendees over a two day period. The Pink Pistols is a national “gay” gun club, with chapters in major US cities. In the “community,” folks like us who are friendly to LGBTQ are called “Allies,” and the Pink Pistols chapter here in town is glad to have us.

It was incredibly obvious that the people that talked with us at the Pink Pistols booth fell in roughly two camps:

  • People who were completely ignorant about guns and were hostile.
  • People who have been looking for someone to talk to about protecting themselves but have been too afraid to do so.

I’m going to skip over that first group for now.

The second pool of people — hey, these people need our help. They are afraid of being assaulted. They are afraid of being judged or harassed by people traditionally associated with firearms. They are afraid of talking to their friends about guns because their friends are usually “liberal” and therefore “anti-gun.” They want to take ownership for their safety, but they don’t know who to talk to.

Unfortunately in my conversations with my LGBTQ friends and family, the gay community isn’t always friendly towards gun owners.

I talked to a lot of people today. People who were curious about guns, people who wanted to get training, people who needed someone to talk to but didn’t know who or how. More than one person walked by with their friends and then circled back later alone. They picked up a flyer or a card and moved on without saying a word.

There is discrimination going on against defending yourself and owning a gun, and we need to be willing and ready to help someone — anyone — who wants to learn more.

Aside from going to Pink Pistols meetings (about once a month), the She Shepherd and I have talked to many of our LGBTQ friends about guns and/or taken them shooting. I think showing people that “non-gays” will support them as human beings who have a natural right to defend themselves is just as important as them learning to use a gun. Being a Shepherd also means being an Ally.

I often start the conversation by asking if they’ve ever been assaulted or knew someone who has been. The answer has always been yes. The next question I ask is if they considered learning how to defend themselves. If the answer is no, I typically end the conversation and move on to another topic.

If the answer is yes, about a third of the people I talk to already own guns, and they will be interested in finding ranges that aren’t judgmental or instructors who will treat them like everyone else.

The remainder of people will have an incredible array of questions, most of them centered around misinformation from the liberal anti-gun media. You should expect almost total ignorance about how guns and ammunition function, as well as a lack of knowledge about safety principles and definitely training. Some of our more effeminate friends didn’t “play guns” as boys or take an interest in any guns their families had until they realized they needed to learn how to fight. They’re not stupid, but don’t assume that LGBTQ will have the same foundation you built from.

You’re going to have to be both patient and prepared. However, the result is worth it. Few things have made me feel as good during my years doing fight-focused training as helping someone learn to protect themselves.

I’m not asking you to reach out to LGBTQ (although that would be cool if you did). I’m asking you to reach out to someone. Pick your group: single moms, interracial couples, women leaving a hostile religion / cult, racial minorities, the elderly, male and/or female survivors of sexual assault, people visiting from foreign countries who are interested about guns, whomever. There are a TON of people who are curious and want to join our growing community of people who want to take care of themselves.

They just don’t know how to ask or who to talk to.

Be ready and willing to be a good ambassador.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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10 Comments on "Proud to be an ally"

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  1. B R Kurtz B R Kurtz says:

    Gay friendly or not, isn’t the issue or at least shouldn’t be. The REAL issue is ACTIONS and Behaviors. Just as the 4 drunks at Denny’s were jerks and your friend was “used to” the words, it speaks volumes about rude behavior.

    I would add that TITLES are part of the problem. Titles group us into stereotypes, as in “Oh he’s ______, so he must be ______. There will always be jerks; but my bet is that most folks would be at least tad bit more tolerant if the equivalent of “_______ POWER” flags weren’t waved in faces by other groups, which in effect say “you HAVE to tolerate my difference”.

    Sure feel free to be who you are, I’ll support your right to be YOU 100%; but don’t be surprised if your difference draws looks and yes, disapproval. If you’re Scottish and wear a Kilt, expect some jerk to wanna flip it up–after all that’s why you carry a dirk. Conversely if you wanna strip off your clothes and paint yourself blue, I’ll tell my kids that’s Mr Smith, we don’t associate with him BUT don’t be rude; the flipside is if you come towards my family with rape in your eyes, I’ll be wearing your ear on a necklace right next to the green one from last week.

    Keep up the good work

  2. Peter W. says:

    Kudos to you sir. I applaud what you’re doing – this single blog post has my cemented my desire to remain subscribed. Every single human deserves the right to defend themselves. It doesn’t have to be a gun per se, but a firearm is likely the most rational choice when and where it is legal.

    I have been/still am in the same position as you; a straight ally to the LGBT community, who, as a community, tends to be very distrustful of gun ownership. Most people find it difficult to reconcile what society considers to be a LGBT friendly world view with staunch support of second amendment rights. The irony, to me, is that they absolutely belong together.

  3. Brian says:

    Way to go!

  4. TJ says:

    Good to know that such organizations exist. How might one be able to acquire one of the pins? And do they make a moral patch for Armed Allies?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Hi TJ! I made the pin myself. As far as I know, no one is making an Armed Ally morale patch…. Yet 🙂

  5. Great ... says:

    Great stuff, as always. Good man.

  6. Kyliewyotie says:

    Fantastic article. I got worried when you started by saying try not to soap box too much on this blog… But figured I have enjoyed your past articles so I continued on. I am very glad I did. I am glad I have found your page.

  7. Penny says:

    are you going to be selling pins I would like one

  8. Harold says:

    Good article.
    I reach out to folks all the time offering to show the the basics of firearms, correcting misunderstandings and falsehoods and helping them progress toward choosing their own weaponfor personal protection. It can be intimidating and scary for someone who has never been in, or near, the world of guns. And I will echo the thought about making the buttons available in some qty’s if that is at all possible. Starting this coming Monday, 6/20, is Gay Pride Week here in Cincinnati and what more perfect time to reach out to folks, and having a button or two would be a great conversation starter at any of the events.

  9. There’s now a list of LGBT friendly firearms instructors who are standing by to teach anyone the basics of how to handle a firearm

    Our plan is to act as the Welcome Wagon for LGBT people, getting them started, and then pointing them along to high quality trainers. But you have to start somewhere. And maybe the promise of a friendly face will bring the gay gun owners out of the gun closet. And it might encourage some of them to buy guns and join us.

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