The rise of billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump to presumptive nominee of the US Republican Party has provoked a range of reactions from around the world, but perhaps the most unusual is a Twitter account started by gay 24-year-old Cody Permenter of Seattle.
'Twinks 4 Trump' is a satirical account claiming to represent young skinny gay guys – known as 'twinks' in the LGBTQI community – who support Donald Trump for US president.
If you think it’s absurd, that’s kind of the point.
“It’s bringing a level of absurdity to the election that can match Donald Trump’s absurdity, and having fun with it," Permenter told NY Magazine in March.
"I’m not naïve, I know that this election will have a lot of consequences for a lot of people, and some of those won’t be so good depending on who wins, but I think that we shouldn’t lose our ability to have fun and to laugh at it,” he said.
In a case of life imitating art, a number of prominent gay men have actually endorsed the Republican presumptive nominee.
“The most intriguing to me are these individuals from the LGBT community who actually support Donald Trump and think he would actually be the best president. They’re kind of interesting,” Permenter said.
Among them is James Driscoll, a HIV/AIDS activist who served on the second President Bush’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
“I’ve been for Trump from the time he first announced, although I was cautious about telling anybody about it then,” Driscoll told the Washington Blade.
In a public endorsement on YouTube, gay video blogger Kyle Kittleson said, “I have a lot of gay friends who totally support Trump but won’t support him publicly. Why? Because they’re literally afraid that they will lose their clients, their friends and their ‘gay card’ – which is ridiculous”.
While Trump has been noted for his support for LGBTQI people as a celebrity billionaire in New York, he appears to have backtracked in an effort to appeal to Republican primary voters, claiming he would overturn the Supreme Court's decision to legalise same-sex marriage.
However, he appeared to come out in support of transgender people, saying they should be able to use whatever bathroom they want to use, in reference to recent controversy over the issue in the US.
Permenter, who identifies more as a ‘cub’ or ‘bear’, said one of his main aims has been to get a retweet or response from Donald Trump’s official account, @realDonaldTrump.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he is dumb enough to do it,” he said.