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By Piper Smith

On June 12th, 2016, a deranged individual murdered 49 Americans and wounded 58 in a combination terrorist attack/hate crime inside a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He was eventually shot and killed by law enforcement after a three-hour delay.

This was the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT Americans in US history and the worst terrorist attack since September 11th, 2001.

It was also when I knew I needed to step up and get involved.

When I ‘came out’ as a member of the LGBT community in late 2015 I began to experience hate from my fellow Americans. This was a new experience for me, and a horrifying one at that. Prior to coming out I was vaguely aware of the claims of discrimination and danger that the LGBT community faced. To be quite honest, I never took it too seriously or knew much about the brutal reality of just how dangerous it can be to simply be different even in our modern 21st-century United States.

I have been verbally and physically harassed. I have been shunned. I have been shamed. I have been ostracized. I have had to fight to keep employment even while being a top nationwide producer. It can be very rough out there for LGBT Americans with some regions being much worse than others.

Responsible firearm ownership and a strong self-defense/self-reliance mindset doesn’t fix or address all systemic injustices, but they can certainly help even the playing field against misguided dangerous hate-filled individuals.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

When I founded Armed Equality after Orlando I had no real plan or idea where to take it. I simply saw that the LGBT community was a soft target and something needed to be done. My group is the first I am aware of to incorporate advanced armed, unarmed, survival, and medical training into the mix.

When I founded Armed Equality after Orlando I had no real plan or idea where to take it. I simply saw that the LGBT community was a soft target and something needed to be done. My group is the first I am aware of to incorporate advanced pistol/shotgun/rifle, unarmed, survival, and medical training into the mix.

I often wonder how differently Orlando could have played out if even 2% had been carrying and able to fight back with force during those ~3 hours trapped inside while law enforcement waited outside. Even if no one had been carrying, what if even 5% of those inside had individual first aid kits strapped to their ankles or in their purses?

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

Anything and everything that strengthens the bodies and minds of good Americans seeking to live their lives peacefully, free from fear of hate, is what I am passionate about.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

We hold the most diverse events you will likely ever see. When you can hold an impromptu Memorial Day BBQ at a local park and have roughly fifty Americans from every race, age, gender, political affiliation, and life experience intermingling peacefully and respectfully in our divisive and polarized society, we know we’re on to something. When the middle-aged white guy in the red MAGA cap can have a beer with the African American Bernie supporter while the local III% leader chats and cooks a burger with a trans-woman, you know your mission is a virtuous one.

In the last few years while building this group I have appeared on local, national, and international media ranging from local live news discussing my opposition to anti-2A legislation, Comedy Central in defense of firearm ownership, Australian VICE News in defense of the Second Amendment and in a variety print and online articles.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

When I show up with well-articulated, pro-2A arguments draped in a rainbow Gadsden flag with my girlfriend because it causes the anti-2A media default narratives to short circuit. It’s always amusing to witness. And trust me, it’s always a good time when you get to tell anti-2A LGBT folk to ‘check their privilege’ and consider that just because they live in an area where they feel safe doesn’t mean that all LGBT Americans have the same luxury.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

Here in Southern California I work closely with San Diego County Gun Owners the Firearms Policy Coalition, and California Rifle & Pistol Association. I have reached out and vetted local instructors for LGBT inclusiveness and regular facilitate epic training events with Active Shooter Defense School, Defensive Tactics & Firearms, and XSA International.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

While we’ve encountered our fair share of haters in the more conservative pockets of the 2A community, I can also say that some of the worst hate we experience comes from misguided elements within the LGBT community itself. That said, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the vast majority of LGBT individuals are not well represented by some of the small, but loud professional activists; many of whom have slowly but surely come around to understanding our perspectives in defense of liberty and self reliance.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights Second Amendment #ShootBack

I am a firm believer in the Constitution and have studied its ideological origins extensively. From the bottom of my soul I know that this nation should strive to protect all of its citizens equally in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. At the end of the day LGBT and non-LGBT Americans share the same hopes, dreams, struggles, and triumphs in life. I believe it is our duty to remember this in these times of hyper-partisanship.

“We The People” means everyone, so come join the most fun, diverse, non-partisan, self-defense/Second Amendment community in the United States. We are vigilant and empathetic Americans, and our country needs a lot more of us.

Armed Equality is building a strong and inclusive community of diverse individuals who seek the skills needed to defend their lives. We are dedicated to the defense and protection of all Americans, from all walks of life; especially targeted minorities.

As I say repeatedly, I don’t love firearms per se, I love the micro and macro human liberty they provide and protect.

Armed Equality LGBT Gun Rights 2A

You don’t need to be LGBT to join, only LGBT and 2A friendly! Find us here:

Armed Equality Facebook page

My public

National discussion group

SoCal Training Group


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    • “As I say repeatedly, I don’t love firearms per se, I love the micro and macro human liberty they provide and protect”
      ….awww, that’s just because you haven’t met your proper soulmate yet (Sturm, Ruger & Co.)! You’ll find that Special Gun someday!

    • Have you guys seen the video about #walkaway movement? A gay guy in New York fed up with what he’s “supposed to” believe. He’s left (walked away) from the leftists. Seems 5 million have seen his video. Great for him, and us.

  1. + 1 million.

    I really don’t have anything to add to this excellent post except that I wish there was an infinite like button.

  2. Why would anyone think the constitution’s BOR does not apply to LGwhatever (there are now 26 letters to identify non-hetero people, and I don’t want to make a mistake and leave one out)?

    What is puzzling is the media “norm” is that all LGwhatever are left-wing radicals, so that means LGwhatever should be looking to government to relieve them of self-reliance worries. POTG are, by default, imbued with self-reliance and personal responsibility; both anathema to the Left). So it is with great curiosity that I ponder how Leftists can mentally reconcile leftism and personal initiative/responsibility.

    Maybe it is being simple-minded on my part, but unless and until someone shoves their politics and sex lives in my face, I don’t give a thought to any of it. (Well, except for the Cooper dictum).

    Why is it than when an identity politics person finds themselves no longer acceptable to their tribe (such as reported in the posting), they do not abandon the tribe and move to another?

  3. The “progressives” are trying to keep us divided. Don’t let them. Know, not just learn, listen to others who have learned and let us take this Country back. 30

    • Problem for me is that one side of the political aisle wants to control my body and beliefs, while the other side wants to control my right to self defense and right earn a living.

      Voting is often akin to “which testicle or boob would I like cut off?” Which knee would I like capped?

      Everyone professes “live and let live” but very few people vote that way.

      • Our best bet is the republican primaries. The democrat party will never be pro gun or good on taxes, and is very open, even proud, about how their primaries are rigged. The GOP at least, we know for a fact their primaries aren’t rigged. There’s no way in hell Trump would’ve been allowed to win the primaries if they were.

        • Democrat party dogma is far removed from the definition of “liberal” that for so long defined it. As it moved left and became “progressive” it also become more and more authoritarian. Progressive politics is built around the “administrative state”. There is no room in it for us.

      • An independent being with separate DNA than you is not “your body”….especially when it has grown to the point that it can feel its arms and legs being ripped off.

        Sorry to have to point those facts out to a person who probably brags about being in the “party of facts”.

        • Amen to that…awful judgement is coming to America. Some of it is already here.

      • What part of the Republican platform is an attempt to control your beliefs? Those efforts are mostly on the progressive side now as far as I can tell.

        • There are some fringe Christians who want to force their morality on the rest of us (e.g. prayer in school, banning vice activities (porn, drugs, adultery), banning gay marriage). In fact until Lawrence v. Texas it was illegal to have sex in certain “unnatural” (i.e. not Bible approved) positions. When I first moved to Arizona in the late ’90s, it was illegal for me to have sex with my girlfriend, but would have been legal if I married her.

          Christians seem to be mellowing out on issues like this*, which is good, because I think this is the biggest issue keeping the republican party from being the big tent it can be.

          * They don’t necessarily have to approve, they just have to keep their noses out of others’ private activities.

  4. Apparently, none of the people in the club had the proper attitude to defend themselves, otherwise, somebody would have bonked him with a chair during a reload. IF, an armed defender does have the proper mindset a weapon doesn’t do much good. Having a weapon for defense means you must reconcile yourself to the fact you may need to take a human life in defense of yourself or others. If you can’t accept that then don’t have a gun, otherwise, you won’t be able to employ correctly or quickly enough. In all the time he was in there someone with the right attitude could have stopped him. If you’re going to have a gun read Massad Ayoob. Google him.

    • I expect that was rather easy to type from the comfort of whatever is in front of your keyboard, at leisure, and with the benefit of hindsight. Oh, and of course without the blasting sound and falling bodies of people being shot all around you.

      Nobody knows how they will react in a situation like that until they are in the situation. I personally hope I never have to find out how would. And while I, as a gun owner, have come to terms with the possibility I could someday be in a situation where I need to pull the trigger, I don’t know whether I would be able to. I haven’t been there. And yes I have read MA … but again, that’s not the same as being in the event.

      While I regret nobody in the club was able to take the criminal out, I don’t blame the victims. I also don’t know that nobody tried, perhaps someone did and failed. I wasn’t there, so I’m in no position to criticize.

      • To be fair, I don’t see it so much as being an armchair quarterback as I do an issue of knowing your own capabilities and limits. I find the argument very akin to my experiences in the Marines. Some people are very good at “flipping their switch” naturally. Others need training and coaxing to get to that point.

        To me, the biggest indicator is how one views their own experiences. Did they instinctively leap into action and afterwards thought about how they could be better? Or did they freeze up and think afterwards how they could have just avoided the situation?

        To me, criticizing cowardice is ALWAYS acceptable. Does anyone remember the people stuck in the alleys aside Pulse holding the doors shut, preventing people from escaping, and trapping them inside? What excuse is there for what? Or the police preventing EMS from treating those wounded at the scene? You can’t help being scared, but COWARDICE is a choice.

      • An off duty police officer working security at the club unloaded an entire pistol magazine at him, missed then fled.

    • I’ve got respect for Ayoob and other “gun gurus”, but, people like you need to stop throwing his name, and others names out there like your the subject matter expert, and judging others for not reading up on their materiel. It’s the height of arrogance and elitism to say “if you have a gun you have to read such and such” or you’re an idiot who knows nothing. Because that’s what you said. And you look like a huge douche when you say that.

      • New, I don’t think Timothy was being arrogant, or judgemental. It sounded like he was just making a suggestion he thought would be helpful when he recommended Ayoob. I never studied under Ayoob, but I have shot with him a couple of times. He was always polite, interesting and very knowledgeable. He also was not above a little instruction himself. A friend of mine, who runs high liability training at the N. FL. Public Training Institute, used to host “theme” shoots. Cowboy this time, something else the next, where all the firearms were period related. Participants would all bring a weapon that fit. Anyway, one time it was WW II. I brought an ’03A3, Noel brought a Thompson, someone else an MP 40, etc. I saw Mark reviewing the manuel of arms on the Luger with Ayoob. Ayoob appeared to be attentive and differential to the instructions. This has been my experience with most of the “gurus” I’ve met.

        Oh! One more thing. Massad Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme” should be on every armed citizen’s bookshelf.

    • Unless I am shot at, who am I to decide who lives and who dies? What if the shooter is a future Nelson Mandela?

      • Jim Wilson, you answered your own question. I would offer that your statement should be changed somewhat, from ‘Unless I am shot at’ to ‘Unless I am violently attacked.’

        Once someone attacks you with lethal force, they have decided that your life, and more importantly, /their/ life, has no value.

        Piper, great article.

      • If you think he might be a future Nelson Mandela then double tap and save thousands of lives.

    • Successful defensive firearm use requires no reading, training, practice or even more than a passing familiarity of the firearm being used. Just ask 99 % of people that do it every year. Essentially I’m agreeing with you, it’s 90 + % about pre-existing mentality, 3 % physical health orthopedic ability, and 2% preparation. Law enforcement and military are totally different animals of course. Civilian training and education about self defense with a firearm is a hobby, if you enjoy it and can afford it, do it. But from a practical stand point your health and safety would benefit more from spending an equivalent amount of time and money training in driving skills or simply exercising.

  5. Perfectly put. It’s my privilege to know you, Piper, and obviously I need to get out to an event. 🙂

  6. As a CA resident I am fond of saying that your human and civil rights are not dependent on your zip code.

    The BOR does not limit itself due to race, religion, sexual preferences, weed use or hundreds of other false limits placed on your rights by the statists.

  7. I really don’t care much about who you sleep with. I don’t mean that meanly, it’s just that it’s none of my business, really. If you’re happy and nobody’s getting hurt, no worries on my part. I care, rather, about whether someone is a good person. You know, the core issues. The really important stuff.

    So … How do you feel about .308 vs 6.5 CM, and where do you come down on .224 Valkyrie vs 6.5mm Grendel?

    • Now that right there is what we really need to be arguing about. We’ll know we’ve won, one day, when the election comes down to a candidates choice in caliber.

      • “Now that right there is what we really need to be arguing about. We’ll know we’ve won, one day, when the election comes down to a candidates choice in caliber.”

        Never trust anyone, politician or not, who thinks anything leas than .500 is a serious caliber. (for a firearm a single person can transport individually)

          • ” It’s the caliber of my absolute favorite handgun. Knockdown power for days and with the right holster very concealable.”

            D.E, or Bone Crusher?

  8. Some keep their personal life to themself and would prefer that everyone else do the same.

    It seems that some segments must publicly display/confront the public with their “unique personal identity” so they can then have something to brag and/or complain about.

    Guess what, run that info up the flag pole and some will salute, some will pi$$ on it, but the majority does not care, they just wish you would shutup about it and keep it to yourself.

    As we do not need or want to know.

    • The problem with the “keep it to yourself” view is that there would be no societal advancements. If people kept it to themselves, we would still have slavery, woman would not be allowed to vote, and we would still be an English colony. The only way oppressed people, any oppressed people, can make advancement is by being vocal and standing up for themselves.
      I personally don’t care what consenting adults do in their lives as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and this is not limited to the LGBT community. Everyone in this great nation should be allowed to exercise all the rights we have here in any way they see fit and without repercussion, assuming they haven’t forfeited them, i.e., felons. Hetero, homo, Christian, Muslim, atheist, natural born citizen, immigrant (legally), and every other category you can think of, our Constitution and BOR extends to everyone. However, that hasn’t always been the case, it’s been amended to now include everyone, and we’re better for it (although some haters may not agree). But the reason it, and we, is better is because of those who didn’t keep it to themselves.

      • Sorry Chris, society does not revolve around anyones private personal life, never has and never will. Making private matters public is just a way to create confrontation and “woe is me” attitudes.

        • Firstly, we’re not only talking about people’s personal private life. Yes, what people do in their bedrooms is their own business, but when a group of people are told they can’t marry who they love because another group says it doesn’t fit their religion, we are restricting their freedoms. And remember, marriage is not just about religion, there are real legal consequences to being allowed or not allowed to marry, in addition to the, for many, symbolic meaning marriage holds. And it’s not just about marriage.
          It is also about tolerance. Lynching of black Americans was relatively common just decades ago, before the civil rights movement. Thanks to their not “keeping it to themselves”, though far from extinguished, racism has lessened over time, not to mention that they are now rightly considered equals. Building tolerance is critical on many levels for any oppressed group, for many reasons, not the least of which is personal safety, but also equality in every aspect of their lives.
          We, as pro 2A, pro gun individuals, and collectively, know the importance of letting our voices be heard for preservation of our rights. That’s why we are here on this blog; that’s why we join the various groups we do, (NRA, GOA, etc.). Why should we deny or have problems with another group that is fighting for their rights to be heard? That is extremely hypocritical. We are quick (and rightly so) to accuse David Hogg of being a hypocrite when he was seen in NYC with armed bodyguards, yet we, while fighting for our rights, tell another group they can’t fight for theirs? No thank you.
          While I personally have no issues with the LGBT community, and wish them success in obtaining their freedom, just as I want every group to have their freedom, it reminds me of the popular 2A meme about the anti gunners right to free speech that I think can resonate with this group as well; “We may not agree with their message, but we’ll fight for their right to express it.”
          Secondly, saying it only affects what happens in bedrooms shows that you need to do some research on both this particular issue, as well as the history of other previous oppressed groups and just society in general. To say that society doesn’t revolve around private lives is weak at best. The fact we are having this conversation shows that society does in fact affect people’s private lives. The thousands upon thousands of laws here and other nations that affect what people can and can’t do in their own home and within their private lives also proves it. Society effects so much of our lives that the line between private and public is so blurry to be almost non-existent.

        • Chris missing the point and trying to overload the discussion with extra unrelated “facts” and turning off reply.

          “Real class act Chris” – I am gone have fun.

        • Pete: Just so you know, it’s not Chris turning off the reply feature; TTAG’s comment code doesn’t let replies go past the fourth nested level or thereabouts. Or, rather, it doesn’t offer a direct “reply” button past that deep. One solution, as you may see, is to reply to the parent post with a to: at the front.

          Personally I appreciate it, as it prevents the “reply chain” from becoming 1 character wide when indented and resized on my cell phone’s screen.

  9. The more 2nd amendment supporters we as a nation have , the better a nation we will be !! We are all ” Leftards not included ” a country of we the people. As such we should all stand up & fight for our rights as Americans. The only person’s I don’t want by my side are those that would try to take my right’s from me. I don’t care if you are wearing a pink shirt or a black man. If you are for our freedoms our forefathers laid out , I am for you & your support. If I lived closer I would gladly attend an LGBT event.

  10. Do some research. Ms Smith is not blowing smoke. Ms Smith and her organization are doing important work. In particular google covert canyon in San Diego county.

  11. Meant to also say earlier … That flag showing an AK with a rainbow mag? Genius. Fabtastic. Love it!

    If someone would make them I’d buy a few … and I don’t even own an AK.

  12. Well done Ms. Smith. It warms my heart to see another American defending our civil rights. Without you and those like you, who are willing to be inconvenienced in the defense of liberty, we’re lost as a nation.

  13. I never understood gay bashing, but I completely understand self defense. The problem I see is that even pro-2A LGBT people tend to contribute to, campaign and vote for the most vicious and aggressive anti-2A slimeballs who ever crawled across the Earth.

    Armed gays don’t get bashed, get a gun, know how to use it, yadda yadda yadda — and then empower those who want to take them away. Does this actually make sense to anyone?

    • “Does this actually make sense to anyone?”

      No. But it is why I doubt any Dimowit voter or candidate who proclaims to own a gun.

    • The problem I see is that even pro-2A LGBT people tend to contribute to, campaign and vote for the most vicious and aggressive anti-2A slimeballs who ever crawled across the Earth.
      Sort of my problem with the GAY Community.

  14. I thought I’ve read from a variety of Left and Right sources (after the initial news fury burned off) that the Pulse murderer did not know it was a gay club?

    I don’t think it matters much either way but it matters to the author in setting up the whole article.

    Is there any definitive answer? BTW, “definitive” used to mean the FBI but since the awareness of Deep State I truly don’t know what definitive means anymore.

  15. As far as I’m concerned there are only two groups in America: the armed and the unarmed. Welcome to my group.

  16. I have been verbally and physically harassed. I have been shunned. I have been shamed. I have been ostracized. I have had to fight to keep employment even while being a top nationwide producer. It can be very rough out there for LGBT Americans with some regions being much worse than others.
    Hey, it could be worse, you could be a Christian Baker, or worse, be a Trump supporting Conservative.

  17. And trust me, it’s always a good time when you get to tell anti-2A LGBT folk to ‘check their privilege’
    Well, this thread has told me all I need to know.
    and consider that just because they live in an area where they feel safe doesn’t mean that all LGBT Americans have the same luxury.
    Right to FEEL safe is another FDR feature.
    The Homosexual Community are just a bunch of Bolshevik Bullies and I am not falling for their VICTIM status.

    • I think you may want to reread the comment you’re attacking… it’s literally making fun of the Bolshevik Bullies…

  18. Here we go..having to keep this labeling bs going. How about just being an American that believes in self defense. But no.. we have to amend that to.. I drop my pants for this gender..this is how said group wants to be identified. Everyone raise your hands if you really want to know what a stranger gets their pleasures from.

  19. I do not approve of homosexuality at all, however I am all in favor and will defend your right to self defense. No one has the right to attack, harm or try to kill you. You have the same right of self defense as anyone else. Keep practicing and training.

  20. I know its was very difficult for homosexuals who are socialist progressive in their political orientation to accept the realty of individual firearms ownership.

    The second most difficult think for them to do will be to vote for white christian republicans who have sex in the missionary position, with the lights turned out, because they are the primary defenders of the second amendment both elected and unelected, as volunteers.

    At least they are moving in the Right direction one step at a time.

  21. BTW
    It was Harvey Milk, San Francisco gay supervisor, murdered in a gun free zone, who said everyone , not just gays , should have a gun, in I think 1977.

  22. The club shooter was a homosexual too (sorry if muslim men just don’t know they are and have to throw LGBTs off of buildings). Why do you have to throw Conservatives in your sales pitch? As far as we can tell, we’re all you got. Don’t confuse lack of appreciation for your lifestyle, with a hate crime because, if hate crimes were on our agenda, we’re certain there wouldn’t be a peep out of you.
    Let’s not foget that homosexuality has been around for a long time. It stays about the same minority percentage of the population because it doesn’t appeal to more people? No, because no one knows who or how it develops the amount of population it does, and it requires heterosexual breeding to continue in ALL instances. So those of that kind ain’t kicking down your door to get the other. And there’s the rub right there. The needs of one group is counter-productive to the other. And there’s no label of bigotry that will stick to that. It’s hard enough in this world to find a desired ‘mate’ it’s counter-productive to allow anyone to confuse you with a contra-sexually ‘aligned’ individual, and that’s a chasm you’re not going to bridge. People shun such other people by whatever fervor is required, it’s even worse than being called a nazi, or racist, or POS MFn (D). If you’re called or labeled one of those, you have to go over the top to prove your counter-bina fides, and part of that is an open and overt denunciation of such labeled group. It’s funny that the LGBT community can get away with so much hate against the hetero community and nobody says shit. Especially with regard to religious objection, or of attacks on heter-sexual marriage by a small percentage of a less than 10% of the population minority group, that wants to whole population to discriminate enough against the whole population in order to create a set of people called married (previously occupied solely by heterosexual couples) then they demand being attributed to that set, even though more unmarried heterosexual couples are more ‘qualified’ but that the LGBTs still want to descriminate against them so as to preserve the ‘married’ set. Again, if your marriage jam was good enough to jar, people would be kicking down your door to get some and that is simply just not the case. And no label of bigotry will stick to that.
    But you want to protect yourselves by exercising your 2A RTKABAs now? Good, remember it’s the POS MFn (D) and rinos that were fighting. Don’t F up the 2A like you did with unicorns, and rainbows, and parades, and boy bands, and . . .

  23. If you are good with guns and freedom, I’ve got your back. Freedom means just that: All freedoms!

  24. “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” (Points for identifying the geek quote)

    That said, I have to admit sharp swords, swift arrows, and accurate firearms are all pretty damn cool. 🙂

  25. Every human being, just like every animal on this planet, has the natural right to defend themselves and others using any and all means possible.

    We don’t have large fangs or claws. Our tools and our intellect are our claws.

    Those seeking to de-claw us are seeking to control us and thus turn us into victims. Plain and simple.

    • “The mentally ill have no business possessing firearms. Enough said.”

      Where is that constitutional carve-out? Who officially decides what “mental illness” is? Does it require a psychiatrist diagnosis, or a bureaucrat checking boxes on a form? Is “mental illness” merely a episode where a person asks for assistance filling-out government forms, tax returns, direct deposit of pay checks? Voluntary treatment by a “mental health” care provider (like a psychologist or social worker)? Who decides when a person is no longer “mentally ill”?

      Who officially defines “mental health”, and establishes gradations that would permit gun ownership, and gradations that would not? Can those designations change over time?

  26. It’s unfortunate that most if not all links go to “Facebook” non-members can’t see anything. I refuse to join for any reason. As somebody wanting to learn firearms and such I’ve noticed other groups are mostly there. I guess I’m out.

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