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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."

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  1. 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!!

    Posted by: George M | Dec 13, 2011 12:24:13 PM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 13, 2011 12:43:55 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Dec 13, 2011 1:12:34 PM

  4. 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!

    Posted by: beinggirlyisnotasickness | Dec 13, 2011 1:13:05 PM


    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.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 13, 2011 1:20:02 PM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: Ryan | Dec 13, 2011 1:22:56 PM

  7. White Trash Nation!

    To quote "Footloose": "I thought only assholes used the word 'pansy.'"

    Posted by: Gry | Dec 13, 2011 1:34:30 PM

  8. Humor depends on being in on the joke, not the butt of it.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 13, 2011 1:37:40 PM

  9. 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.

    Posted by: coolbear | Dec 13, 2011 2:02:39 PM

  10. TJ
    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

    Posted by: George M | Dec 13, 2011 2:12:17 PM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: wtf | Dec 13, 2011 2:25:07 PM

  12. there's nothing wimpier than feeling a need to carry a gun.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 13, 2011 2:28:58 PM

  13. I think it's funny.

    Posted by: C.J. | Dec 13, 2011 2:37:37 PM

  14. 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.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 13, 2011 3:01:22 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 13, 2011 3:43:47 PM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: Yuki | Dec 13, 2011 3:57:02 PM

  17. 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!!!

    Posted by: Samantha | Dec 13, 2011 4:21:34 PM

  18. 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.

    Posted by: jaragon | Dec 13, 2011 6:12:42 PM

  19. 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!

    Posted by: Mary | Dec 13, 2011 6:41:30 PM

  20. ok that ad is hilarious.

    Posted by: Jesse Archer | Dec 13, 2011 6:47:57 PM

  21. 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...

    Posted by: Rich | Dec 14, 2011 7:02:51 AM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: Robert Baker | Dec 14, 2011 8:37:27 AM

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

    Posted by: chuck | Dec 14, 2011 11:40:27 AM

  24. 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.

    Posted by: mark | Dec 14, 2011 2:26:55 PM

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