Details Features Radical Trans/Queer Group Bash Back

Bash Back gets a glamour shot in this month's Details. Photo by Danielle Levitt.

You may remember the incident in November in which the Lansing, Michigan-based chapter of the Bash Back anarchist group, angry over the church's repression of gays, held a demonstration at the Mt Hope Church in that city, "disrupting a service by pulling a fire alarm, dropping leaflets and yelling at parishioners."

There's a profile of the group in this month's Details: "Founded just over a year ago, the group adamantly opposes what it calls
the 'gender binary system,' which classifies people as either male or
female. Most members consider themselves neither or both. It's
anti-establishment, anti-military, and anti-marriage—for anyone. What
Bash Back! supports is gender self-determination, lots of sex and
pornography, and confrontation as a first resort—a necessary response
to violence."

The group's approach troubles gay rights groups. Sue Hyde of the NGLTF notes: "This looks too much like something I don't want to be involved with. Seeing weapons in the hands of gay folks in the U.S.? There's plenty
of hate in the world."

But one group member — Milwaukee member Tristyn Trailer-Trash — says they're not trying to persuade anyone: "We'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!"

Read the whole article here.


  1. roger ramjet says

    Straight people have only themselves to blame. Some of us anticipated this movement a long time ago.

    Pro? Con? who knows. Gratifying? Hell Ya!!!

  2. fred says

    I”m all for gays with guns –

    already a member of the band – so go ahead stupid straight guy… try and vent your rage on me.

  3. ColinATL says

    This is wrong on so many levels. Angry people doing angry things. Just what the world needs more of.

    I could care less what they do for the gay rights movement. In the end, they probably make it look more mainstream. In the meantime, these kids are just wasting space and time with their villainy.

  4. crispy says

    Coming this fall to Independent Film Channel: “Stand By Me” re-imagined by John Cameron Mitchell and starring Clay Aiken.

  5. Chitown Kev says

    I can’t help but to like BB and appreciate them. I can neither endorse not condemn their methods, though my thoughts (and my emotions) are with them.

  6. omgyawu says

    If I was an an alternative vigilante gay/trans group we would have way better uniforms. I’m thinking capes and stuff. Just a thought…

  7. Mike Kilpatrick says

    Have to say I’m sick of hearing gay rights groups and their kumbaya bullshit about “reaching out” and “changing hearts and minds”. If your going door to door begging for the civil rights guaranteed you by the constitution your not doing so on my behalf. I see this group as a direct response to all this sort of pussy bullshit. Good for them
    Looking at the past 30 years , you have to say this sort of thing works. As much as we may dislike republicans they employ these tactics to great advantage. They basicly have no real power now but are still setting the agenda! Every time you elect a democrat they make excuses. Oh we can’t win the republicans are just too mean! Democrats deserve just as much blame for the last 8 years as republicans because they allowed them to do it. When will the left learn that being a pussy just doesn’t work?!!! Now we’re saddled with another wimp for the next four years dithering away the overwhelming opportunity given him in true democratic style. Hillary was just mean and a “bitch”. No one stopped to think that maybe a “bitch” was just what we needed.

  8. Davey says

    A fat lesbian with a bat and a couple of skinny queens is supposed to make me feel safer? I’ll take my chances with the straights….

  9. namesRhard says

    By God would these people grow up… Honestly, does nobody else think this is just juvenile nonsense?

  10. OMG! says

    OMG! Remember when Justin joined a group like this on Queer as Folk? That was so totally awesome. Except until the part where his friend wanted to kill that guy. That was totally uncool and really major.

    This so totally edgy. Just like QAF. OMG!

  11. MissNee says

    I suggest bash back keep their nose out of Oakland business (re: their oh so attempt at being shocking by showing solidarity with lovelle mixon yet being thousands of miles away because they themselves don’t have the balls to be “cop killers”)

  12. Randy says

    I love the idea, but like a previous comment said, these folks need to hit the gym if they’re going to strike that particular pose.

  13. Ken says

    This is not good for anybody. Violence begets only violence. While I think we have every right to defend ourselves and our community, to invade churches and angrily confront people will not further the cause of equality. Yes we should call out the hatred and discrimination, but these tactics will only encourage retaliation, and it won’t be these kids getting the hurt, it’s going to be some poor defensless kid on his way home. The high road is a long path, and it’s not easy. It takes patience and maturity and courage. But when you get to the end you haven’t become the monster you were fighting.

  14. says

    LOL! Oh brother, what a bunch of maroons.

    So these punks got a press guy to call Details knowing they will do a story on anything (See their profile on white power freak Derek Black) and now they’re “Malibus Most Wanted”!

    I say we drop them off on 112th and Alameda in L.A. and see just how bad ass they really are. Let’s make it interesting. Let’s drop them off at about 2:45am.

    Let the games begin.

  15. tjc says

    POSTED BY: OMGYAWU | AUG 24, 2009 2:20:14 PM
    If I was an an alternative vigilante gay/trans group we would have way better uniforms. I’m thinking capes and stuff. Just a thought…
    Did you learn NOTHING from The Incredibles?
    “No capes!”

    (key bit starts at 2:10)

  16. jay says

    love the fashion, hate the weapons. the best way to fight violence isn’t responding back with violence.

    does this have to be one of the first trans-related things details covers? sigh…

  17. DR says

    They come across as a bunch of juvenile delinquents stomping their feet and throwing temper tantrums. I’d have more respect if they deigned to use their names and faces like Act Up and Queer Nation did. This posturing and posing with weapons makes them look quite silly. The sad reality about them is they’re a bunch of scared kids with an axe to grind.

    And I haven’t even gotten to their politics! Oy!

  18. wetcnt says

    Ah, to be young, idealistic, and dangerously stupid. Violence begets violence. End of story.

  19. says

    I think each generation has its own unique “anger/rage”; for many Q’s under 25, they may have a need to express what the “Gay Leaders” seem terrified of doing -Expressing JUSTIFIED ANGER, ENTITLEMENT, and OUTRAGE at the bareback fucking of church and state.

    I’m not convinced that we can always say these acts are just “more hate and violence”, since some may see these acts as SELF-DEFENSE. If government allows religious groups to vote into our lives the loss of pensions (steal), forced deportation of spouses, etc., how CAN we fight back? Sometimes you need a fist instead of a piece of paper when someone is striking you.

    When enough is enough!

  20. DR says

    I hear what people like John are saying, but look at their behaviour….

    False names to avoid apprehension
    Changing names to avoid subpoena service
    Wearing masks
    Wielding weapons
    Tattoos of Molotov Cocktails and hand grenades
    and from their webpage: “Do not solely condemn an action on the grounds that the State deems it to be illegal.”

    This is not advocacy or civil disobedience. My clients do this, they get called “criminals”, so let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?

  21. Ken says

    Another thing that bothers me is that, for a group that considers itself anti-establishment, from the picture it seems like they have bought into the bullshit macho sauce. Where’s the questioning of masculinity? Instead we get skater boy over-compensation

  22. John says

    Considering the long history of repressive laws in this country, they might have a point. Before 1974, they could send you to a mental hospital – against your will – for homosexuality. Foreign homosexuals were officially barred from even entering the country until the Clinton Administration.

    If anyone here engaged in homosexual acts anywhere in Utah, Michigan, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, or Virginia before 2003, then you are technically a “criminal.” Just because you weren’t arrested and convicted doesn’t mean you didn’t commit a crime.

    To blindly obey laws that don’t make any sense is no virtue.

  23. Bryan says

    Violence has resolved more major conflicts in human history than any other single force. We love deploring it almost as much as we love watching it. Best of all is when others commit violence on our behalf, which allows us to simultaneously wallow and decry.

    Of course it’s very like gay people to confuse vigilantism with a fashion shoot. A pink bat. A manifesto published in “Details.” Perhaps they could develop a mercenary branch – bash back for hire. They could call it “Pinkwater.”

  24. jimmyboyo says



    people like to think King’s dream inspired a nation , but reality = black panthers and the nation of islam rioting and wielding violence scared the crap out of white america and thus a the movement towards calming the anger via civil rights

    Act UP! got us recognition, aids funding, etc

    The founding fathers didn’t work within the system to get independence.

    History shows that violence works.

  25. Bobby says

    LOVE IT!! Fighting back is the only way to stop gay bashing.

    I’m a gun owner and any motherfucker thinking they’re gonna beat the hell out of me might just get a bullet between the eyes!

    I urge every homosexual to get a carry permit and keep a gun with you anytime you’re traveling or anywhere you feel unsafe.

  26. Pee Town says

    The only thing more ridiculously funny than that picture are some of the posts here. But Crispy, yours wins hands down.

  27. JT says

    And let’s take up a collection to move them to Detroit. I wanna see how far that crap takes them there.

  28. says

    I understand the sense of rage that inspires a group like Bash Back, but their tactics aren’t likely to be successful.

    I would take them more seriously if they showed their faces and had more focused ideals than challenging the “gender binary system” and most social institutions.

    My experience is that groups like this break up within a few years because of infighting about people’s radical credentials.

  29. Mark says

    I’m not at all impressed by a bunch of poseur dykes and “transmen” in pink hankies protesting the “gender binary system”.


    And Out Magazine is there for every exciting, manufactured moment!!! Because it is all so terribly relevant!!!

    Is this a MAD TV sketch? Have The Gays stopped being parodies of themselves yet?

    And the whole “trans” thing gets on my fucking nerves. They all remind of Michael Jackson trying to be “white”. When dykes accept “trans-lesbians” as “real” womyn I’ll be very surprised.

    Just another fucking pose.

  30. Master Adrian says

    With all the bashing going on, religiously and socially, it is time to strike back, iow BashBack, indeed!

    A new meaning to the abbreviation of BB too!

    Instead of being fearing the straight bashers, fight them with their own weapons!
    And besides, isn’t it time to step up the preasure, and make clear to the ones that think to be better then us that we’re not pansies? I think it IS time!

    P2P – Power To Pink!

  31. says

    I love the transphobia in the article! really makes you take the author seriously and totally adds to his credibility as a queer journalist covering his own culture.

    the person with the bat is a man, FTM transperson, and all of you who think gender can just be deciphered through your heteronormative gaze (sorry, but we’re still in a heteronormative patriarchy, don’t pretend like you haven’t been conditioned) should think twice before writing transphobic comments, losers

  32. Mark (aka Biologically Male Monster Boogeyman) says

    re: Alex

    The person with the bat is CLEARLY a “FTM transperson”. That is the point.

    So…IF all gender is learned behavior (i.e. “conditioned”) how is “trans” gender not ALSO LEARNED? You contradict yourself.

    If all they’re changing is gender appearance and performance…why the surgery and hormones? How does one argue surgery and hormones are authentic…BUT naturally occuring, biologically determined sex is not?! WTF!

    How can you argue 1) that men “learn” to become masculine monsters in “heteronormative patriarchy” but that 2) transpeople are completely free of the very same cultural and societal influences that force everyone else to “learn” their gender?!

    How are transpeople magically free of the same learning curve? How are transpeople free from cultural pressures to conform? How are transpeople magically allowed to choose, objectively and FREE of influence, the “right” gender for them?

    AS IF.

    If everyone on earth gets trans surgery and becomes the opposite gender will we all be somehow more real, authentic and acceptable to you? Clearly not…and there is your answer.

    And what about the intersexed?! Shall we also force them into assigned gender categories and, unwittingly, perpetuate the very “heteronormative patriarchy” you seek to destroy?

    These transpeople are like 5 year olds who get to walk around in their Halloween costumes all year round.

  33. mike says

    @MikeKilpatrick: you are spot-on with your comments! Forget the f’in campfire sing-a-longs. People forget what our Black Brothers and Sisters went through. It wasn’t all “I Have A Dream”, as noble as that was. It was more about hard work, courage, and the willingness to take a blow to the head, a dog ripping up your arm or even death to get justice. I am NOT interested in “nice-nice” with republicons or evangelicals or anybody else who will try to take away our G*d-given right to live and breathe free in the Land of Our Birth. @MyKelb has it even better: get that legal firearm, get out to the local firing range and then, maybe take some self-defense courses. Those assholes on the right are simply NOT going to give it up WITHOUT a fight.

  34. Do says

    Clearly Bash Back is flawed but nothing compares to this horrendously written article. How can an author tell his audience he has vowed to keep people’s identities anonymous and then tell us their various pseudonyms and what their tattoos look like? Not to mention the complete transphobia dripping from this piece of crap article. At the end though, Bash Back is largely to blame for allowing Details into their so-called anonymous group.

  35. Let'sFaceIt says

    LOL at Mike. Yeah, this group looks so threatening. Let’s send them to beat people up who are entering the homophobic gangsta rap and reggae concerts.

  36. hmm says

    I like the idea of this group but they’re not articulating their ideas as well as they could be and I think they would be more effective if they made better use of humor. I don’t mean I think they should be glib – I think there is a way to use humor in a more sophisticated way, so that smart people aren’t turned off and people who aren’t very smart have something to appreciate too. Really sharp wit is more pleasurable and more memorable than anger. Not everyone has it, but find people who do and put them in charge of communicating with the public. And more broadly speaking, I think this group should spend more time thinking about the aesthetics of being confrontational. I don’t think it’s the right thing for right now to try to compete with the birthers and the teabag freakazoids and the diabetic walmart bible-thumpers by ratcheting the anger up more. They make me really angry too but I think the only real answer is to be anti- anti- anti- . . . so: be thoughtful, be calm, be funny, be self-aware, be not-shouty, be disgusted by weapons and violence.

  37. babydyke says

    people keep comparing BB! to Act Up! bad comparison. Act Up! had coordinated non-violent (but still incredibley radical) actions—kiss-ins, die-ins, that shit at the SF opera, etc. Act Up! was willing to do mainstream stuff like lobby and prostest, as well.
    Bash Back, meanwhile, is more about vigilante justice, scattered “actions” (cause we all know vandalism will help us so much), random protests, and lots of group sex. not much in the way of empowerment if you don’t subscribe to an insurrectionary anarchist viewpoint or are cisgendered. BB! is more of a clique than anything else.

  38. says

    I know I have read in the BAR before someone calling out Chelsea Handler for her ant Trans jokes the episode with Sharon Osbourne, the roundtable openly ridiculed the trans ftm Dad and Chuy even was asked what he thought of a tarns man having a baby and he said ‘it was just wrong’ followed by guffaws from her round table -for a so called pr LGBTQ person and gave PSA’s for it and what not how come she has not been in the hot seat, ate Trans people still invisible? she has done this more times I can count she needs to be educated about Trans people or have the trans parent on her show she looks so ignorant and it helps perpetuate violence against the community and I am sick of it

  39. paul b. says

    I wish I could say I didn’t understand their anger and frustration…but I do.
    How to channel it is the question. Unfortunately, if we think back on the last civil rights movememt…the black folks wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a good fight in the streets. I’m old enough to remember and now realize that it was the only way the whites would share the power, freedom & wealth. They still think it’s there’s to dole out.
    Can we get everything we deserve without resorting to violence? I’m not so sure anymore. One thing is for sure…we’re never going back to the way it was!