YouTuber Elijah Daniel has purchased a small town in Michigan named Hell and renamed it “Gay Hell” in protest against a Trump policy banning US embassies from flying LGBTQ+ Pride flags.
The purchase will last for the whole of Pride Month (June), with the YouTuber hinting that it will be made permanent.
Posting photos of his purchase to Twitter, Mr Daniel said: “Ahead of Pride Month, Trump’s administration put a ban on embassies flying Pride flags… As of today, I am now the owner of Hell, Michigan.
“My first act as owner, I have renamed my town to Gay Hell, MI. The only flags allowed to fly are Pride.”
Ahead of Pride Month, the Trump administration denied permission for US embassies around the world to fly rainbow flags for the event. The flags had been permitted in previous years under Obama-era rules, but Vice President Mike Pence confirmed a change in policy.
US embassies in countries including Norway, South Korea and the Philippines chose to display Pride flags on their facades; doing so isn’t in breach of the State Department policy, which bans the flying of rainbow flags from flagpoles.
Mr Daniel told the Press Association: “My main message is the protest of the embassy flag ban, but further than that I’m just trying to find ways to get my audience more involved in politics and what is happening around them.
“I have a younger fan-base, and I use comedy and stunts to try to get them to be more politically active.”
In 2017, Mr Daniel paid to be Mayor of the town of Hell, which has a population of around 70, for the day, on which he “banned heterosexuality” and subsequently became impeached.
He said: “I’ve actually been interested [in buying Hell] since it went on the market years ago. I grew up in Michigan and passed it often, I just always loved it.
“In 2017 I was elected the Mayor of Hell, banned all the straight people and was impeached the same day.”
Mr Daniel said he couldn’t discuss details of the purchase, but that the town of Gay Hell is “here to stay”.
He said: “I live in Los Angeles, currently. But I’m from Michigan and my family still lives there, so I plan on making lots more trips.
“Can’t really discuss the purchase plans or agreement, as that has to do with another project as well. But what we can say is that it is for Pride Month right now, but Gay Hell is here to stay.”