A tweet from Spanish far-right political party Vox has spectacularly backfired after the group used a ‘gay ghost’ emoji to represent their battle against LGBT+ people.
The anti-LGBT political party posted a graphic on Twitter, prior to the Spanish general elections on April 28, of a Lord of the Rings character “going to battle” with the emblems of all of their adversaries.
The Photoshopped image included an anarchist sign, feminist sign, a Catalonia flag, a communist symbol, an El Pais logo (a Spanish newspaper) and to represent the LGBT community, a gay ghost emoji.
As the image went viral, the LGBT+ community used memes to reclaim the symbol as an icon of resistance against the far-right party.
— VOX 🇪🇸 (@vox_es) April 28, 2019
Queer and trans social media users started using the hashtag #gaysper to create memes and roundly mock the group, using the rainbow-coloured ghost emoji, who oppose same-sex marriage and LGBT+ families.
One user asked the LGBT+ community to “please” reclaim the gay ghost emoji as their own.
Puede la comunidad lgtbi apropiarse de este icono por favor?? pic.twitter.com/xhJ4IlKdlS
— Jesús y la virgen. (@JesusOrtex) April 28, 2019
While another person tweeted: “The worst thing the far right could have done was give the LGBT community a new cute symbol,” while continuing their Twitter thread to include images of Gaysper scaring people. “Here, Gaysper scaring a young right-wing heterosexual,” another Tweet said.
Aquí, Gaysper acechando a un joven heterosexual de derechas. pic.twitter.com/uU3NON3TCL
— ¡Bravo por vos! (@Bravoporvos) April 29, 2019
Even brands such as Netflix Spain joined in with the meme, Photoshopping pictures of the ghost into screen shots of its horror films.
Uy, se nos había escapado este fantasma de Hill House. Cero miedo. pic.twitter.com/dOfCMMLfDX
— Netflix España (@NetflixES) April 29, 2019
Others suggested that people should dress up as the ghost for pride festivals and carnivals.
— Modesto García (@modesto_garcia) April 29, 2019
While others created friends for Gaysper… introducing Bisper, the bisexual ghost.
— Igualdad LGBT (@IgualdadLGBT) April 29, 2019
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As the meme continued someone launched a Gaysper Twitter account, in tribute to the emoji, which now has over 2,000 followers.
Thousands of tweets were sent in support of the LGBT+ community in the aftermath of the initial Vox tweet, with supporters urging the LGBT+ community and allies to use the image as a symbol of resistance against the far right.
The origins of the emoji are currently unclear, although the ghost appears to be from an Android phone and Photoshopped with a rainbow flag.
Vox won over 10 percent of the Spanish vote
The Vox party won just over 10 percent of the vote in Spain’s general election. It will take 24 of the Congress of Deputies’ 350 seats following the vote.
Its success marks the first time that a far-right party will sit in parliament since the 1975 death of military dictator General Francisco Franco, who had ruled the country since 1939, after leading the Nationalists to victory in the Spanish Civil War.
The incumbent Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) won the most votes, but still earned just 123 seats, putting it 53 short of an overall majority.
Vox’s leader Santiago Abascal regularly speaks out against what he calls “supremacist feminism and gender totalitarianism.” He and his colleagues oppose same-sex marriage and have proposed introducing a separate form of civil union.
Abascal told the Spanish TV channel Antena 3: “We don’t consider a relationship between two men or two women to be a marriage, but it’s a civil union that needs regulating.”