Home America Gay Hell: US town re-named to protest LGBT flag ban

Gay Hell: US town re-named to protest LGBT flag ban


YouTuber Elijah Daniel welcomes you to Gay HellImage copyright
Elijah Daniel

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YouTuber Elijah Daniel welcomes you to Gay Hell

Welcome to Gay Hell, Michigan. A tiny town with a new name and a new owner.

YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 25, is making waves on social media this week after announcing that he’s buying the small American town Hell and re-naming it for Pride Month.

Pride month celebrates the global LGBTQ+ community with a series of events and parades held annually throughout the month of June.

Calling the town Gay Hell is a protest against US President Donald Trump’s ban on American embassies flying the rainbow flag, Mr Daniel told BBC News.

Known for his stunts, Mr Daniel said his latest action aims to “trick” his young audience, mostly 15 to 24-year-olds, into paying attention to politics.

“The idea is they click my tweet and then see the news behind it. It’s the way I get my audience interested,” he explained.

Under President Barack Obama, US embassies were permitted to fly the LGBTQ+ flag, but the White House has now banned the practice.

Vice-President Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian who opposes same-sex marriage, defended the ban as the “right decision”.

Mr Daniel initially promised that only pride flags would fly in Gay Hell, until he realised that it would be illegal to ban residents from flying the American flag.

Hell, which is about 60 miles from Detroit, has turned itself into a tourist destination by capitalising on its unusual name.

In the town you can buy the right to be mayor for the day, a wedding chapel is available for couples who want to “get married in Hell”, and visitors can visit Hell Hole Bar and Hell Saloon.

In 2017 Elijah Daniel made headlines when he became Hell’s mayor and announced he would ban heterosexuals from the town.

Mr Daniel grew up near Hell in a “very religious family”, and says the town’s name was taken seriously by many in his community.

Keen to point out his stunt is meant to be “over-exaggerated and fun”, he says he also wants to send a message to children growing up like him that “it’s OK to be gay”.

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Elijah Daniel

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YouTuber and comedian Elijah Daniel is in the process of buying the town from its current owner

He aims to do something every year to mark Pride, including in 2017 when he re-wrote the bible “to make it gay”, changing the first sentence to “in the beginning Rihanna created the heavens and the earth”.

He says he cares about Hell and that it’s a place he wants “run all year round”, not only for Pride Month.

Hell’s owner has been trying to sell for a while, but according to Mr Daniel, he wants to “pass it on to someone who will carry on the tradition”.

The asking price is around $1m (£800,000), and Mr Daniel says he will soon finalise his purchase of the town – at which point, Hell’s new name will be made permanent.

Many on social media celebrated Mr Daniel’s move and he says his fans “love it”.

His tweet announcing the name change has been shared by nearly 50,000 people and liked almost 200,000 times.

But conservative radio and TV host Joe Pags accused Mr Daniel of “hating the American flag” and Mr Daniel admitted he has received threatening messages on Twitter “but nothing out of the ordinary.”

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