By now, you’ve probably seen that “Pride Demon” meme all over social media. The image, featuring the words “Pride Month” written five times, with letter fading to leave the word “demon” written in rainbow letters, went viral over the weekend after anti-LGBTQ+ activist, QAnon conspiracy theorist, and failed Republican Senate candidate Lauren Witzke posted it on Twitter on May 26.
Her post seems to have backfired, however, with LGBTQ+ people and allies enthusiastically embracing the meme, ridiculing Witzke, and drawing attention to the queer and trans artist who created the rainbow version of the meme.
Mark Robinson recently said God created him to fight against LGBTQ+ rights.
According to KnowYourMeme.com, artist Veya, who uses fae/they pronouns, repurposed the anti-LGBTQ+ meme back in 2021. The original image, reportedly posted to the Facebook page of Christian publisher Sword-In-Hand Publishing in June 2021, featured a similar image, but with the letters fading to reveal “demon” in red letters rather than rainbow letters.
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“A little hint at what dwells at the heart of ‘pride month’…” text above the graphic reads in the original Sword-in-Hand meme.
At the time, a few Twitter users seized upon the unintentionally hilarious image. “Love how this was posted unironically,” one tweeted in June 2021.
But Veya took it a step further, creating the rainbow version of the meme, which is available on t-shirts for sale on their Redbubble shop.
“This is reclamation,” Veya wrote in the caption of a May 2022 Instagram post featuring the image. “When bigots try to paint us as demons, we will embrace our new identities. Prith demons unite! And be free!”
“Prith,” as in the letters in “Pride Month” that fade to reveal the word “demon.” Get it?
Veya has also created other versions of the image featuring the colors of various Pride flags, including the bi, trans, and lesbian Pride flags, which are also available on t-shirts.
Notably, the version of the meme Witzke posted last week didn’t include the artist’s “Art by Veya” watermark. After the post went viral, Veya posted a tweet claiming credit.
“THIS IS MINE,” they wrote on May 28. “This is made by me, a queer, trans artist.”
Witzke, who is being sued for defamation by a gay couple she accused of human trafficking and pedophilia in response to their social media post about the birth of their children, seems to be aware of the unintended response to her post.
“Demons can seethe,” she tweeted on Monday. “Christians are DONE taking crap from the LGBTQ Mafia. We’re cancelling Pride Month, pouring out your Bud Light, shutting down your Targets, and we’re taking back the rainbow.”
But judging from various riffs on and parodies of her post—not to mention the number of posts verifying purchases of Veya’s t-shirts—that’s not going so well.