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Oct 30 2016
by Matt Gehring

I Went Viral As A Gay Man In A Dress And The Alt-Right Attacked Me

By Matt Gehring - Oct 30 2016

Hey, it’s Matt, your typical white gay boy who has always wanted to go viral on Twitter. And during Halloweekend 2016, my dream finally came true.

I dressed up as Tomi Lahren, ultra-conservative host of her own political talk show called Tomi on The Blaze. She’s known for her incredibly racist, xenophobic and misogynistic remarks that go viral on Facebook.

Maybe you remember Tomi’s critique of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, where she said, “Didn’t two white parents adopt you, after yours weren’t willing to raise you?”

Or perhaps you’ll recall her segment slamming Beyonce’s Superbowl performance, saying, “This isn't about equality, this is about ram-rodding an agenda down our throats and using fame and entertainment to do so."

During the third Presidential debate, I saw how awful Tomi’s tweets were and so I clapped back. Her fans didn’t like it very much. And I decided to be her for Halloween.

I put together the costume in the week before Halloween. I got a dress, a wig and a fake microphone on Amazon. My roommate Kirby did my makeup and my roommate Sarah lent me her tights and heels. It was truly a team effort.

Half of the people at my Halloween party didn’t get it at all. But the other half did and thought it was stellar. I knew this might have some potential to go viral.

The next day, I tweeted it.

It got a few retweets in the first hour. Then it got hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands – and it’s up to 40,000 retweets as of now.

When it started picking up steam, every response was super positive. Like, incredibly woke and aware of the joke. I was pretty impressed considering Twitter is a haven for some pretty awful assholes.

Of course, the hate arrived soon enough. Some people claimed that I was afraid of a woman speaking her mind.

This is far from the truth – I respect Tomi’s right to say what she wants, especially in a patriarchal society that discourages women from doing so. At least these haters had substance behind their tweets. But others didn’t.

Some people pointed out that my arms are skinny and hairy. 

Because even though I live with those arms every day, I must not know that, right?

Of course, being the sarcastic person I am, I clapped back with some Bill Nye the Science Guy facts.

By the next day, things got worse. The #MakeAmericaGreatAgain crowd found my tweet and spread it like wildfire. Replies went from minor physical insults to absolutely repulsive, homophobic attacks.

Some just called me gay or a faggot.

Nothing like stating the obvious.

Some took it further and reverted us back 20 years with the classic AIDS jokes.

As if that wasn’t enough, the neo-Nazis of Twitter came out in full force to remind me I should be executed.

They even slid into my DMs. How generous!

I don’t regret my costume. I don’t regret tweeting it. And most importantly, I don’t regret going viral.

I would like to make one thing clear, though. These people still exist and these people are having their feelings validated by a Presidential candidate. Even though petty tweets won’t affect me, that doesn’t mean everyone else is the same.

Screw the haters. They are meaningless to me. Matt out.

Lead Image Credit: Matt Gehring // @mattryanx on Twitter

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Matt Gehring - Syracuse University

Matt Gehring is a senior at Syracuse University studying television, radio, and film. He's into social media and a major pop culture junkie. Matt is Fresh U's Social Media Director and loves writing about what's trending. Follow him on Twitter: @mattryanx

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