The owners of at least four Tennessee gay bars say they’ve been disturbed to receive hate mail reinterpreting LGBT as an acronym for “liberty, guns, beer and Trump” instead of “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.”
Melvin Brown, who owns Nashville’s Stirrup Sports Bar, told WTVF News Channel 5 that he received a postcard with the letters “LGBT,” accompanied by American flag-bedecked images of the Statue of Liberty, a gun, a bottle of beer and President Donald Trump, in the mail last week.
At least three other gay bars in Nashville received identical mailings, according to WTVF.
Brown and other local LGBTQ advocates say the assault rifle pictured on the flyer resembles the one the shooter used in the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.
Though the letter doesn’t appear to be affiliated with any political party, it also includes a logo that reads “MAGA” ― a nod to Trump’s catchphrase, “Make America great again.”
The return address, meanwhile, leads to an empty lot in downtown Nashville.
Brown told NBC News he believes whoever created the flyer was intending to send a “very deliberate” threat to the local LGBTQ community.
“We live in a post-Pulse world in the LGBTQ community, especially in the bar scene,” he said.“To see somebody send a postcard that had a picture of the weapon used in one of the deadliest assaults in this nation’s history, and one that happened at an LGBTQ bar, and to send that image to LGBTQ bars, to me is not a coincidence.”
In a separate interview with Fox Nashville, Brown said he believes it’s a “huge possibility” the letter was meant as “a motivating factor with the midterm elections coming up,” especially since his bar hosts voter registration drives.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department told NBC News that authorities are not investigating the mailings at this time, though they are aware of them.