In response to a gay-bashing in Houston (5 guys w/ baseball bats v. 2 unarmed men)...
Carrying or not carrying has very little to do with being a "real man".
And then we have that little set of reality issues that involve the large and increasing number of women that carry, and not only carry serious firearms, but wield them as well or better than the average guy. Google "Julie Golob" or "Breda the worlds deadliest librarian".
But do, if your ethics allow, get your Concealed Pistol License. Contact your local Pink Pistols chapter (or call around to the local gun groups if you don't have a chapter handy - these days the comments I hear after a bashing is reported in the gun community consist mostly of "Goddamit, why weren't they armed?") and find someone to visit the range with you (pick a range with a rental counter or a new friend with a really impressive collection...not only are you learning to shoot, you're testing for what gun works with YOUR hand...so a variety is good).
Consider training. Learn the rules of firearms safety. Learn to hit what you shoot at. Learn the local laws regarding both use of force and firearms carry. Practice.
NO SELF DEFENSE STRATEGY IS A SURE THING. "Run away, Run away" and "Be where the trouble isn't" are still the two very best self-defense strategies even if you are so heavily armed that you clank when you walk. Regrettably, they aren't always available.
Five guys with baseball bats, to any vaguely rational person, make up what's called "deadly force". Frankly, so does one guy with a baseball bat or a crowbar. Skull fractures and other impact injuries are no laughing matter and can easily be lethal.
When you fight back, you aren't just saving yourself. When you fight back, win or lose, you shatter the meme that the LGBT community is composed solely of wild-eyed pacifists that are vulnerable and easy targets for every bully that comes along - hate-driven or not.
After all, when was the last time you heard of a group of 5 youths with baseball bats attacking a cop or a biker?
It isn't just hate that's our enemy. It's also the idea that we're a safe target.