Sale of "Lake of fire" t-shirts to benefit gay youth
T-shirts poking fun at an anti-gay blog posting from a Wildrose candidate will be on sale at the Edmonton Pride Festival starting this weekend.
The message on the shirts —"I stayed at the Lake of Fire and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" — refers to a blog posting that came to light during the recent Alberta election campaign from Edmonton Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger.
In the post, Hunsperger stated that gays and lesbians would "suffer the rest of eternity in a lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering" if they didn't change their sexual orientation.
Proceeds from the t-shirts will go to Camp fYrefly, a retreat for sexual and gender minority youth. Kristopher Wells, one of the people behind the shirts, said they are a way of turning a message of hate into help.
"It's about taking the power away from those kinds of negative messages and those hateful words," Wells said.
"It's about reclaiming language, it's about reclaiming symbols, and redeploying them. It's about mocking something to its most extreme where it no longer has its original meaning."
Hunsperger was reached by CBC News on Wednesday. He did not wish to comment on the t-shirts.
The revelation of Hunsperger's blog posting was seen as one of the turning points in the recent Alberta election campaign, particularly after Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith refused to condemn him for making the remarks.
Smith is expected to take part in this year's Pride Festival which runs from June 8 to 17th. Premier Alison Redford is expected to address the crowds at Churchill Square after Saturday's parade, making her the first Alberta premier to do so.