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Calgary radio station wants listeners to take a big gay selfie

#X929BigGaySelfie hashtag hopes to reach kids negatively affected by Calgary bus driver controversy

A Calgary radio station wants its listeners to have a big gay kiss — for a really great cause.

In advance of Calgary Pride, X92.9, a local alternative station, has asked listeners to post pictures of themselves kissing in support of LGBT rights using the hashtag “#X929BigGaySelfie.”

Recently, Jesse Rau, a Calgary bus driver, stirred controversy when he said he would refuse to drive a rainbow-covered bus because of his religious beliefs.

Tyler Middleton, the co-host of X Mornings with Tyler and Lynch, says that they decided to start the hashtag because they wanted to show young people — especially LGBT identified ones — that not everyone shares Rau’s opinions.

“I want those kids to know that . . . just because there are these people in the media making a big stink about [Rau] doesn’t mean that a majority people still believe or support what he’s saying. In fact, most of us are opposed to it.”

Mike Morrison, a Metro Calgary columnist who frequently writes about Calgary’s LGBT community, says that he thinks it’s good if even one kid sees it and takes a positive message away from it.

“If you didn’t know the guys from X92.9, you might think they are making fun of it,” Morrison says. “If you listen to their show all the time you know that they have people who are anti-gay call in and they tell them to screw off basically.”

“Thier demographic is certainly, I would say, straight male,” Morrison adds. “So I think it’s fantastic that they’re just going all out with this.”

Morrison thinks that the response in support of the LGBT community in the wake of Rau’s comments has been amazing. “I just noticed that there’s been a big shift in Calgary, to where we don’t really have to explain ourselves anymore,” he says, pointing out that the trans pride flag will fly for the first time outside of Calgary’s city hall this weekend.

People using the hashtag will also be entered into a draw for tickets to an Arkells performance in Calgary in January. Middleton hopes that will help the hashtag pick up steam. “Maybe some of these kids will see it and realize, ‘hey, well we may have this guy who drives a bus that hates it, but you know what? My favourite radio show doesn’t.”

“Hopefully that can help in whatever way it can,” Middleton says.