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LGBTQ+ people arming themselves as right-wing hate groups grow

By Lee Cleveland, FightSaga - March 1, 2023

(This story initially surfaced on the Advocate)

An organization in  New Hampshire is teaching members of the LGBTQ+ community how to use firearms so they can defend themselves in what might be a powerful countermovement against far-right radicals who have been targeting queer people. If this movement takes off, look for it to be adopted by other states across the U.S.

Rainbow Reload, a group that provides a controlled environment for queer gun enthusiasts and experts to practice firearms skills, says it aims to give people the skills they need to protect themselves in lieu of a rising chorus of threats targeting LGBTQ+ people, including those stemming from hate groups.

“There’s been an uptick in hate crimes, there’s been an uptick in groups that have been protesting drag story times and drag shows, and it felt like I needed to learn how to protect myself,” another member, Jamie, told NHPR, holding her Christmas gift, a pistol.

Although LGBTQ+ couples have been afforded more rights and public approval in recent years, MAGA Republicans are still trying to isolate them and have attempted to falsely isolate the community as aimed at indoctrinating kids into seeking medical treatment to change their gender identity.

Sharon, who transitioned recently, explained, “Reading the news, having a few experiences, realizing that I’ve gone from: old cis-male, white, upper middle class, really no real fears about anything, to: there are people that just looking at me will want to hurt me.”

Transgender people have been facing increased levels of hostility throughout the nation, especially in New England, where a new neo-Nazi group has been targeting places they may be present, according to the members of Rainbow Reload.

“If the world is dangerous, then you have to be dangerous back,” Smith said.

A survey conducted by Pew, reported by NHPR, indicates that almost half of Republicans own guns in contrast to one-fifth of Democrats.