Trigger Warning: LGBTQ groups arm themselves against white supremacists in America

Daniel Orton

LGBTQ groups in America are taking up arms to protect themselves against Nazis and white supremacists.

The Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started earlier this year in upstate New York, spurred by a growing anxiety within the LGBTQ community about an armed and organised far-right that seems increasingly emboldened.

The group meets once a month to shoot still targets and clay pigeons.

Club member Jake Allen said, “Often queer people are thought of as being weak, as being defenceless, and I think in many ways this pushes back against that.

Jake Allen takes aim at a Trigger Warning meet up

“And I want white supremacists and neo-Nazis to know that queer people are taking steps necessary to protect themselves.”

Lore McSpadden never touched a gun before the Trigger Warning Queer & Trans Gun Club started this year.

"We're acknowledging our fear of a world in which conservatives are the only ones who are armed,” she said.

McSpadden added that she identified as a pacifist through most of her life.

The 37-year-old still acts peacefully, but attended a self-defence seminar and owns a 20-gauge shotgun.

The group is not alone either.

Allen said there is another Trigger Warning chapter in Atlanta and he has received inquiries from about 10 other cities.

Membership in the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pink Pistols, an LGBTQ-oriented gun group with chapters nationwide, bumped up after the last election and then after a white supremacist killed a counter-protester in Charlottesville this summer.

Still, even the act of taking up arms for defence is enough to worry some veteran activists.

"Is an arms race what we really want?" asked Scott Fearing, executive director of Rochester's Out Alliance.

"What we know in any arms race is that it's never good for anybody, and death and destruction and harm and hurt can come when so many people have arms and weapons."

Trigger Warning members stress they are about empowerment and self-defence, not offence.

Members say it also gives them a sense of community - even if it comes on a firing line in the middle of farm country.

Additional reporting by AP