Tragedy has a way of bringing communities closer together.
In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, pro-second amendment members of the LGBT community are banding together to defend themselves and each other.
According to Guns.com, membership to the gay guns rights group, Pink Pistols, has more doubled to 4,000 members from 1,500 pre-Orlando.
“The reality is, we still get attacked for kissing our partners or holding hands in public,” said Utah Pink Pistol chapter Matt Schlentz to the Salt Lake Tribune. “We get windows smashed for having an equality sticker on them.”
The Pink Pistols were established in the light of another tragedy. In the aftermath of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepherd, members of the gay community began calling for self-defense from within. 16 years later and the Pink Pistols have chapters in over 30 U.S. cities and in Canada an South Africa.
“Obviously, as a gay man, I have to have some liberal views socially, but on this one point, I have very conservative views,"Schlentz told the Tribune. The reality is what it is — the world is a violent, terrible, scary place, and people do wish me harm based on who I love.”
Posters of the gay version of the Gadsden Flag sprung all across West Hollywood in the aftermath of Orlando, reflecting the growing movement among members of the LGBT community for greater self-defense.