North Carolina Gun Range Promises to ‘Convert Pansies’


Pro Shots, a North Carolina shooting range, has put up this billboard outside of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and it has the attention of Equality North Carolina. On the group's Facebook page followers are condemning it as "veiled homophobic hate speech."

Negative comments have already begun turning up on the shooting range's Facebook page as well.

Writes Kathy Clark:

"The Pansies Converted Daily billboard is quite possibly the most offensive advertisement I've ever seen. Congratulations. According to, the slang meaning of the word pansy is a) a male homosexual, b) a weak, effeminate, and often cowardly man." Either way, it is derogatory and designed to intimidate a certain population. Your billboard is an example of institutionalized bullying which incites violence towards homosexuals. Or do you actually have pots of pansies that people shoot, thus converting them to rubble? Please clarify your meaning. If I am incorrect in my assumption, I will promptly apologize and come to your range to destroy flower pots."


  1. Rovex says

    Sometimes i think people over react. Its not necessarily homophobic, but it does present a rather limited view of masculinity, that a real man has to use a gun regularly.

  2. endo says

    Here we go again with the victim complex.

    If you think that’s homophobic, then you must identify as a pansy. I certainly don’t.

  3. jtramon says

    I’m not really offended by the billboard.

    Is it possible we have arrived at a point where we just find fault with everything? I definitely see the humour in the billboard

  4. Alex Parrish says

    What I find remarkable is the idea that the only thing which stands between a good ‘ole boy and pansy-hood is a gun. It implies that Pansy-hood is something that is dependent upon your possessions — not upon your character or demeanor. Take away their guns and they are all pansies at heart?

  5. james says

    Equality North Carolina should organize a gay night at ProShots. Given the diversity of the GLBT population, there’s got to be enough recreational gun users to make it a success.

  6. joeyhegele says

    I consider myself quite sensitive to homophobic remarks, but I always thought pansy was just another word for a dandy. To me, someone who is a pansy is fussy and neat and dresses nicely, etc. Now that may describe some gay men, but not all of us.

    There are some words and phrases which directly target gay people, but this is not one of them. Certainly some people might use it to attack gay people, but those people might also use the word wimp to attack a gay man. That does not mean the word wimp is always anti-gay.

    Then again, maybe it is a generational thing. I do not think most folks under 30 use the word pansy as an insult.

  7. NwYrkr says

    Y’all stop rationalizing. It’s homophobic.
    Only the “geighs” are viewed as needing conversion. Wimps, wusses, nerds etc. are not seen as needing conversion.

  8. Jack says

    Homophobic my ass. It’s aimed at “wimps” (though I know many a non-shooter who could whip anyone at that range), and it’s meant to be “funny.”

    Get a life, Kathy Clark.

  9. Patrick Wellington III says

    OK, North Carolina, you’ve got a whole bunch of more important stuff than this faux controversy to worry about. Don’t be a bunch of pansies.

  10. sgw says

    Has anyone actually bothered to ASK ProShots about it??? I have never been there; don’t know anything about them. However, the range that I do frequent seems to have not issue with anyone from any demographic.

  11. endo says

    For the record, Kathy Clark posted this photo on Equality North Carolina’s Facebook wall… I’d hardly call that “having their attention.” And she joined their Facebook group within the last week.

    This is little more than a faux-activist trying to drum up a ruckus. I’m sure the real gays and lesbians of North Carolina have far more important issues to address.

    Why the hell is a woman rushing to defend us poor helpless pansies anyway? Apparently, that’s how she thinks of us. We got it, girl. Simmer down.

  12. bro-mosexual says

    that facebook post is more heterosexist than the billboard. this lady basically implies that ‘gay men are pansies.’ not even sure who she is or why her fb post is relevant at all… she’s not even a gay man, probly just one of those girls that ‘get offended at stuff’ because it makes them seem ‘enlightened.’

  13. Mary says

    I don’t know the intention of the range owners but I will side with the gay community on this one. If people are going to compalin about political correctness then the least they can do is avoid what they know will be taken as insulting statements. There are other ways to be funny – and other ways to express opposition to gay rights than to make tacky jokes like this. My guess is that the word “pansy” WAS intended to refer to gays. They certainly weren’t talking about shooting flowers.

  14. endo says

    Oh yay, another woman taking our side. This is like when white people call something racist that African-Americans don’t have any problem with.

    Stop calling us pansies, Mary!

  15. says

    Jesus. Here we go again with the apologists for homophobia and heterosexism.

    Know your history folks. A pansy is an effeminate homosexual. If you object to the linking of effeminacy and homosexuality you should be EVEN MORE angry that the billboard connects the two, instead of claiming, in effect, “well, I’m not effeminate, so it’s OK to bash gay people who are.” Idiots.

    The billboard makes its point ONLY if pansies are
    gay men or
    effeminate men
    With guns.

    So we have conversion and gun violence targeted at gender-nonconforming men.

    How can you not get this? Are you so brainwashed by heteronormative society? Sad. Very sad.

  16. says

    Not Offensive? Get a grip people and simply replace the word “Pansies” with the derogatory minority coded term of your choice…. For starters… “coons” “spades” “wetbacks” etc…

    Pansy = “gay” BIG TIME.

  17. peterparker says

    It’s a *horrible* ad. The headline is blatantly bigoted (whether toward gays or wimpy straight men) and hints at homicide. The font used is completely pedestrian. But even worse is the atrocious layout–the eye has no idea where to land. Even a first year advertising student would be embarrassed to submit this piece of shite for review.

  18. bro-mosexual says

    not sure what ur talking abt, kevin bro… a ‘pansy’ is just a soft guy who could be str8 too. also the ad isnt abt violence against ‘pansies’… it is implying shooting a gun will make a ‘pansy’ turn in2 a real man.

  19. endo says

    You’re right Kevin, here we go again… with the professional victims begging to be offended.

    If you think pansies means effeminate homosexual, it says more about you than it does this billboard.

  20. Javier says

    This one is tough for me to judge. I don’t think the intent was to be homophobic. People constantly use the word “pansy” without any intention related to homosexuality at all. The word is used to connote weakness, lameness, not strong or manly. Of course, some people associate gays with these traits, but far from all or even most today. I think this is yet another case where gay men may be much more sensitized to words than the general population. Also, the ad is not saying that pansies or weak men should be victimized; only that, once they go to the shooting range, they transform into manly men. It is straining to say that the ad is saying that gay men are transformed by going to a shooting range. I think it is a stretch to view it as anti-gay.

  21. George M says

    Im a 37 year old gay man in CT, I didn’t take anything negative from it. I own a gun and shoot it with my son. I’d shoot there!!

  22. TJ says

    Wow. The FOR (Friends of RICK) are out in full force today. So, sissy men, gay or not, need to be converted? Wuss, wimp, pansy, p*ssy, are all acceptable terms to be used against the “wrong” kind of man? Because if you’re man enough, those words mean nothing, and if you object, you are just a weak victim? No wonder bullying is so prevalent, because for so many of you, it is, at some level, not only acceptable but justifiable.

  23. Sean in Dallas says

    I grew up in a few places across the US. “Pansy” was always used negatively against the weak, awkward, and effeminate.

    Yeah, it’s a gay slur. Yeah, the billboard is insensitive. And yeah, I’m glad Ms. Clark raised the issue.

  24. beinggirlyisnotasickness says

    TJ, a million times. I don’t think everybody should “get up in arms” about everything. The ad, though, advocates violence against “pansies” effeminate men, gay men. Like the way that men on here don’t even want, gasp, “help from a woman.” Some of the queers at towleroad are a bunch of bigots, wowza!

  25. Jack says


    You need some reading comprehension lessons. For the sake of this argument, I’ll even accept your proposition that “pansy” refers to gays.

    As has been pointed out several times, the billboard doesn’t advocate violence against anyone. It implies that if you shoot a gun, you’ll be more masculine or more straight, however you want to take it.

    Saying that it advocates violence against anyone is victim-mongering at its finest.

  26. Ryan says

    HAHAHA! I actually like this ad. I don’t like guns, but the ad is funny.

    If you’re offended by this, you have no sense of humor.

  27. Gry says

    White Trash Nation!

    To quote “Footloose”: “I thought only assholes used the word ‘pansy.'”

  28. coolbear says

    Sorry, I’m kind of an expert on this term. “Pansy” meant exclusively “homosexual,” with the effeminacy added only by implication, until well into the 1940s. It solidified as “effeminate homosexual” in the post-war period. It is certainly not used to mean effeminate male without implication of homosexuality until very recently, certainly no earlier than the 90s. You can use it any way you want to, of course, but people are always claiming that they don’t really intend offense when they use “gay” or “faggot,” too.
    That aside, where could you find a better argument that guns are marketed as extensions of a disputed and uncertain masculinity. Pah-lease, girls.

  29. George M says

    I guess when i read it i didn’t take the word that way, I just had my friend read it and he saw it the way you see it. So learning to do on my part

  30. wtf says

    It’s amazing to see all of these people who obviously are too young to have grown up being called this, so it’s not inherently offensive to them: what’s amazing about that is they are SO ignorant of the past that they don’t see any value in the correction of what is quite obviously hate speech. My own response is: “Pansies? Yeah, THIS pansy already owns a gun and would be happy to blow your hypermasculine ugly ass into next week”. As for the apologists on here: get some education. Your lack of understanding is pathetic.

  31. TJ says

    GEORGE: Learning – and empathy – is all about looking at things from another’s point of view, and being willing to see that you might have something to learn. It takes a strong ego – one, as LITTLE KIWI suggests – that doesn’t necessasirly need a gun, or a particular image, to be a man.

  32. Francis says

    As has been said above me, and as the dictionary definition shows, although this quote may or may not be directly homophobic, the reality is, there is a connection between effeminacy and gay men in the minds of many. Historically and currently. Even if you want to say this billboard is not homophobic, it is undoubtedly misogynistic, and that should be enough reason to have an issue with this ad. And misogyny is one of the central issues concerning homophobia.

    It’s saying you’re not a real man if you don’t carry, and aren’t a gun hawk. It’s ignorant, and can be interpreted as being violent and aggressive. It’s another ad promoting unhealthy stereotypes of what being a “real man” is. And that is something that ALL gay/bi men should reject because those stereotypes are harmful towards us as a community and are used to target us for discrimination, as well as straight men who are not overtly masculine. It’s wrong.

  33. Yuki says

    Even using the term “pansy” for solely someone who is weak or effeminate–not necessarily gay–I still find the ad offensive. Whether or not it means you need to shoot them or turn them away from being a pansy, someone’s not weak or effeminate just because they don’t want to go to a shooting range.

    Not to mention there are indeed effeminate people who shoot. Sorry, but this thing’s offensive no matter how you cut it.

  34. Samantha says

    I’ve learned that this billboard is now being removed because of negative comments and complaints. To Bromo-sexual and ENDO – shame on you for being snarky about any girls taking your side. I think we ALL need folks that aren’t exactly like us on our side – on ALL LGBT issues. For instance, without the help of many caring individuals whether they be gals, guys, straight, gay, or even “faux activists” – Prop 8 will never be repealed. Finally – if Kathy Clark hadn’t made a big stink about this….this embarrassing billboard would continue to be up in NC – for who knows how long. As a North Carolinian, I for one applaud her efforts. YOU GO KATHY!!!

  35. jaragon says

    There is nothing offensive about this add-it’s a funny play on words- in other words real men like guns. Lightened up guys fight the real battle not this lame add.

  36. Mary says

    Endo, I wasn’t “calling” you anything. Nor did I say that all gay men were wimpy or effeminate. If even a portion of the population sees “pansy” as an insulting term for a gay man, then the term should not be used. Unless, of course, you want to encourage people to insult gays? Strange how some people can’t seem to take “yes” for an answer!

  37. Rich says

    Maybe it’s a regional thing. Where I am from (Long Island, NY) pansy has always been used interchangeably with sissy and faggot. At least by the kids who taunted me and drove me to thoughts of suicide. So I am certainly offended. I’m glad I don’t live where “y’all” do who are willing to accept “wimp” as its meaning, and I don’t have to look at that hateful sign, or I would be a lot more than mildly angry…

  38. says

    Who needs Pro Shots when we have the Pink Pistols: A national organization for LGBT gun enthusiasts? As for me, I’m fairly liberal and not very masculine at all, but do have a hunting license and like small game hunting.

  39. chuck says

    If you don’t think that this billboard is not homophobic…you are either a T-bagger or have an IQ of 20…on the other hand, probably both.

  40. mark says

    Finding this billboard offensive takes a lot of effort. It is not “clearly” homophobic.

    Saying that going to the shooting range “converts” pansies is probably accurate. Assuming “pansy” means an effeminate man (gay or not), who dislikes violence and confrontation, might be converted into a gun-loving traditionally masculine man once he goes to the range and fires a few shots. I’ve done it, and it’s fun to feel the power of a gun (I’m still gay, though). There is nothing homophobic about that.

    You might not like guns, and you might not like the implication that masculinity is linked to violence and guns, but that doesn’t make the ad homophobic.

    KEVINVT’s comments represent the complete over-reaction that is becoming the norm. Nothing about that ad says that there is anything wrong with being gay. It represents a traditional view of masculinity, where men aren’t sissies but instead are gun-toting Bud-drinking MEN. People are free to think that, and it has nothing to do with hating the gays. Sure, it may not represent a view of the world from an anti-oppresive, white-priviledge-exists, all-gays-are-sissies lense, but not everyone sees the world the same way as you do. Unless there is obvious homophobia being spewed in order to reap a benefit (see Rick Perry – “Strong”), then calm down, accept that different people think different ways, and move on.

    It is important to pick the proper battles to fight, something activists in America really need to learn to do.