Bookmark and Share
Click to go to the home page.
Click to send us your comments and suggestions.
Click to learn about the publishers of and our mission.
Click to search for any word or phrase on our Website.
Click to sign up for an e-Mail notification only whenever we publish something new.
Click to remove your e-Mail address from our list immediately and permanently.
Click to read our pledge to never give or sell your e-Mail address to anyone.
Click to read our policy on re-prints and permissions.
Click for the demographics of the audience and our rates.
Click to view the patrons list and learn now to become a patron and support
Click to see job postings or post a job.
Click for links to Websites we recommend.
Click to see every cartoon we have published.
Click to read any past issue.
Click to read any think piece we have published.
Click to read any guest commentary we have published.
Click to view any of the art forms we have published.
The current issue is always free to everyone - Can gun-totting solve gay-bashing? - Inclusion - By The Reverend Irene Monroe - Editorial Board

In a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a gun for personal use. While the debate will continue to go on about whether the Second Amendment really means that American citizens only have the right to bear arms in connection with service in a well-regulated militia as referenced in the amendment or we have the right to keep a loaded handgun for self-defense, right now this is the law of the land.

For those American citizens who reside in congested crime-ridden urban areas riddled with drug and gang warfare, as I do, this recent ruling brings a heightened concern about personal safety. But this ruling also brings a heightened concern about personal safety for those of us who rely on hate crimes laws to protect us from the bigoted actions by our fellow citizens.

“I can see some crazed fool come into a bar where gays hang out or my homeys and shoot the hell out of us,” Adam Williams told me. Williams is an African American trans male who has been the victim of both gay-bashing and racial violence. Feeling more vulnerable than ever in his life with this recent Supreme Court ruling, Williams tell me he’s going to carrying a gun with him.

“Ain’t nothing out here to protect you now. I don’t trust the cops ‘cause they beat the shit out of you with other officers watching,” Williams referring to the news about the cop beat down of Duanna Johnson, an African American transwoman, in a Memphis booking room that was captured on a surveillance video. “I’d be stupid not to go packing now.”

Williams lives in Oakland, just outside of San Francisco, and he’s going to check out the San Francisco chapter of Pink Pistols. As a national organization that encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to arm themselves in order to prevent hate crimes, the Pink Pistols are also a social gun club. On the San Francisco Pink Pistols website it invites the community to learn how to shoot.

“We are a group of primarily gay shooters, who are welcoming to all. One need not be an experienced shooter, nor own a firearm. So if you are interested in learning to shoot in a non-threatening gay friendly environment (one member is a certified firearm instructor) then click on for the date of our next shoot.”

Pink Pistols brandishes the motto “Armed gays don’t get bashed” and “Pick on someone your own caliber.”

Their message is a hot-button issue swirling in the LGBTQ community, which is: can gun-totting solve gay-bashing?

“They’re trying to get urban gays and lesbians to not be afraid of the one instrument that, when used properly and legally, can save their lives,” Jeff Soyer, a Pistols member of the Vermont chapter told Alternate 101.

Libertarian activist Douglas Krick founded pink Pistols in the anti-gun town of Boston. Although Pink Pistols have 48 chapters in 32 states and 2 countries it not well received here in Boston, one of the most gay-friendly but top crime-ridden cities in the country.

“I don’t believe arming ourselves is a sustainable response to a subculture of hate towards homosexuality. We are not going to settle our scores as a community by having a shoot-out at the OK Corral,” stated Sue Hyde of the Boston office of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to the Southern Voices in 2002.

But Jonathan Rauch, the gay journalist whose headline article in the March 13, 2000 Salon Magazine Pink Pistols borrowed its name from, thinks differently. And he illustrates his point by reminding us of the 1998 killing of Mathew Shepard.

"Shepard was small, helpless and childlike. He never had a chance. This made him a sympathetic figure of a sort that is comfortingly familiar to straight Americans: the weak homosexual," Rauch told Orange County’ Weekly in 2003

The Pink Pistols are considered the lunatic fringe of the LGBTQ community and are often compared to the Black Panthers and Jewish Defense League, all movements in response to hate crimes and discrimination against their groups. And their advocacy for guns is understandable.

Self-defense is a human right. And great spiritual leaders have spoken out on the subject. For example, the Dalai Lama said, “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” And Jesus stated in Luke 22:36 “Let him who hath no sword, let him sell his tunic and buy one.”

We feel most vulnerable when we have no means to defend ourselves from attacks both systematically and individually coming toward us. Organizations like the Pink Pistols offer a seemingly viable tool to stem gay violence.

However, guns will never be the great equalizer for an embattled group. They may for a fleeting moment deter our enemies but they will never permanently protect us from them. But guns do, however, signal to us that we might need to take another course of action. Editorial Board member, the Rev. Irene Monroe is a religion columnist, theologian, and public speaker. A native of Brooklyn, Rev. Monroe is a graduate from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African-American church before coming to Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as a Ford Fellow. Reverend Monroe is the author of Let Your Light Shine Like a Rainbow Always: Meditations on Bible Prayers for Not-So-Everyday Moments. Click on the above link to order now at pre-release pricing. As an African American feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible. Her website is Click here to contact the Rev. Monroe.

Any article may be re-printed so long as it is re-printed in its entirety and full credit given to the author and If the re-print is on the Internet we additionally request a link back to the original piece on our Website.

Your comments are always welcome.

eMail re-print notice

If you send us an eMail message we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold your name.

Thank you very much for your readership.


July 3, 2008
Issue 284

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield

Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
Printer Friendly Version in resizeable plain text format or pdf format.
Cedille Records Sale