‘Straight pride’ photo lands Canadian politician Danielle Smith in hot water

The premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, Danielle Smith, has reaffirmed her support for the LGBTQ+ community having caused a stir after posing for a photo with a man in a ‘straight pride’ t-shirt.

Images were shared online of Danielle Smith standing with a man in a bright green t-shirt that had “Thank a straight person for your existence” and “Straight Pride” written on it, alongside an image of classic male and female pictograms.

A second image shows Smith engaging in conversation with him, where the back of the man’s t-shirt can be seen reading: “Good people disobey bad laws.”

A number of people took to social media to condemn Smith for the photograph, including those raising concerns about the message it sends to queer people. One Twitter user highlighted how the man’s message is not just hurtful to queer people but also “literally urges people to not obey the law”.

Global News quoted McEwan University associate professor Dr Kristopher Wells, who researches sexual and gender minority youth, as saying it was “unconscionable” that the premier’s staff let her be photographed with the man.

“It’s very concerning, it’s disturbing,” he said. I think it speaks to the times we’re in and where people will look at any opportunity to share this kind of hateful narrative and feel that that’s OK and appropriate.

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“What you’re seeing here is people trying to [legitimise] these views as though they were the dominant views in society.”

Meanwhile, Duane Bratt, a political science professor at Mount Royal University, questioned where Smith’s handlers and staffers were at the time.

“Someone should not have allowed that person to get so close to the premier,” he said.

In a statement to the news outlet, Smith’s office said she “didn’t read his shirt and obviously doesn’t agree with its message.”

The added: “She has always been clear that she supports the LGBTQ+ community and will continue our work to make sure they feel safe in our province.”

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