Bash Back in Details (Pic: Danielle Levitt)

In a surprising revelation, a gay group has admitted that it was behind the vandalism of a billboard promoting National Coming Out Day in downtown Memphis, USA.

The billboard, depicting former marine Tim Smith, who was fired under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on military personnel, was destroyed last month by what was thought be a group of anti-gay vandals.

Now, a radical gay organisation called Bash Back has claimed credit for defacing the billboard paid for by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, saying that the sign was promoting war and the sending of gays and lesbians to their death.

“I’m here to dispute the claim that this action was an anti-gay act,” said the group on its blog site. “First, sending gays to be military fodder is NOT pro-gay or conclusive whatsoever to gay liberation. State militarism only reinforces the dominant structures, and the racism/heterosexism they perpetuate, as well as reducing the number of gay people in the world.

“Second, we accuse the MGLCC of being flat out racist/anti-queer/anti-trans; and we furiously question how that the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center can squander $3500 on military billboards, when Memphis has the highest trans-murder rate (11 trans women of color, 1 white transwoman and 1 transman of color), as well as one of the highest queer youth homeless rates in the nation, and how they can justify putting a pro-military billboard in the overwhelmingly POC neighborhood of Morris Park, when the poor Black community in Morris Park is disproportionately preyed upon by the military (through the court system’s “prison or military service” rule for minor felonies as well as recruiters’ false promises of otherwise impossible economic/education opportunities)?”

Bash Back was featured in Details magazine in August and was described as supporting “gender self-determination, lots of sex and pornography, and confrontation as a first resort — a necessary response to violence.”

One of the group’s members, Tristyn Trailer-Trash, told the magazine they’re not trying to change people’s minds: “…we’re not trying to bend straight people to give us freedom — we’re fighting back. We’re going to stop them from preaching hate, stop them from creating an environment that’s unfriendly to gay, queer, and trans people. We’re not going to be nice about it—they’re not being nice about it!”

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