A small New Brunswick town has taken down a straight pride flag they decided to raise for some ungodly reason.
The small town of Chipman, which has a population of just over 1,000 people, held a little ceremony and raised the flag on Sunday drawing the ire of many who called it a symbol of hate on social media. It flew for Sunday and then half of Monday until the rash of negative responses forced them into taking it down.
The CBC reports that the flag was the brainchild of 12 people in the village who wanted to show support for straight people after the town flew a pride flag. The flag features black and white stripes and the symbols for men and women. One of the people behind the flag told the CBC that they’re “not against the gay pride people at all” and that while he’s seen the negative response he expects it to blow over.
"It's only a small percentage of them who are not happy about it and most of them are either people who … are either gay or if they have children who are gay," Glenn Bishop told the CBC. The man said they took their idea and flag design to the mayor, Carson Atkinson, and he accepted it. At the flag raising, Atkinson gave a short speech about “inclusion.”
"To date, your council has unanimously voted to accept a flag provided by the LGBTQ community and today, we are accepting a flag provided by the straight community,” went the speech. "For all of us in the community, we are reminded that we must celebrate the many elements in our community which bring us together."
For the LGBTQ community in the province the flag wasn’t exactly a symbol of inclusion. One local LGBTQ resident, Justin Fudge, told VICE that the flag was most definitely a response to the LGBTQ pride flag being raised back in June—a sort of ‘they could raise their flag, why can’t we’ kinda thing. Fudge, who has lived in Chipman for eight years, said it was embarrassing.
"There was a lot of confusion and disgust happening when I first saw it,” he told VICE. “A lot of feelings. There was a bit of disbelief and shock. I had never seen [a straight pride flag] in person until yesterday."
Fudge took a photo of the flag and made a post on social media with it. That post was shared widely in New Brunswick, he says, “it got the word out pretty quick”—that’s when he got into his vehicle and flew a large LGBTQ flag out of his window.
“I was a little scared it was going to come off because it was just on my antenna,” he said. "I just went for a drive—It kinda felt like it had to be done, like someone had to do it. I wanted to stand in solidarity with my friends and supporters and people who always supported me."
Other responses to the flag were equally unkind to Chipman. One New Brunswicker, speaking to the CBC, equated flying the straight pride flag with “almost like putting up a swastika.” "It's just like they created a time machine and they put us back 10 years," Margaret Clark told the national broadcaster.
When the Village of Chipman Facebook page posted the mayor’s speech things did not go well. “This is so incredibly backward that I’m once again fighting feelings of shame about living in New Brunswick,” wrote one person in response. “I don’t have the words to describe how terrible and awful your actions are. Nothing positive has been done here, but instead has just promoted so much hatred, and I am sure you can see this by the backlash already— you’ve made a huge mistake,” wrote another. “Homophobia disguised as 'equality.' The mayor and village council should be ashamed of themselves (although I'm sure that isn't the case). Absolutely disgusting,” reads yet another.
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