A “liberal” lesbian teenager has outed her family as being involved in a violent confrontation during the US Capitol riots.
Five people died during the chaotic Capitol riots on 6 January, which followed months of escalating posturing and rhetoric by MAGA extremists who vowed not to let president-elect Joe Biden take power.
One woman was shot by police, and three others died as a result of “medical emergencies”, officials said. Fourteen police officers were injured.
Images of white supremacists assaulting police officers spread rapidly online, as both law enforcement and the general public sought to identify the armed and angry Donald Trump supporters.
Helena Duke, a “liberal” lesbian teenager, saw three of her family members in videos of the riots – and identified them online.
“Hi this is the liberal lesbian of the family who has been kicked out multiple times for her views and for going to BLM protests to care what happens to me,” Duke posted alongside pictures of three people on Twitter.
“So, Mom: Therese Duke. Uncle: Richard Lorenz. Aunt: Annie Lorenz,” she added.
Hi this is the liberal lesbian of the family who has been kicked out multiple times for her views and for going to BLM protests to care what happens to me so:
Mom: Therese Duke
Uncle: Richard Lorenz
Aunt: Annie Lorenz pic.twitter.com/cuBAPJ3GJA
— Helena Duke (@duke_helena) January 7, 2021
Duke’s mum, Therese, had initially lied to her about where she was going – saying she was accompanying a relative to a medical appointment, BuzzFeed News reports.
But Duke and her cousin worked together to reveal that Therese had actually gone to Washington DC during the violent attempted coup.
“My initial reaction was more like, ‘Oh my gosh, I was right. I was actually right about them being there,'” Helena, 18, told BuzzFeed News. “It was very surreal because it was an insane video, first of all, and then it was the revelation that, ‘Oh, that’s my mother. That’s her.'”
Duke said her mum was previously a Democrat voter but made a swift switch to the right when Trump was elected in 2016.
She’s been praised for her bravery in outing her family, particularly by other people who’ve lost family members to the “Trump cult”. Many of them contacted her to sympathise.
“I think it kind of makes me feel better knowing other people have gone through the same thing,” Duke said. “I obviously feel very sad that they have to go through it too, but that I’m not alone, and that they’re not alone.”
It is unclear whether Duke’s family actually stormed the Capitol or if they remained outside. On returning home they asked Duke to take down her tweets identifying them. She refused.
Duke is now crowdfunding to go to law school.