A Christian music festival shut down a stall promoting diverse gender and sexuality.
The Festival One Christian music event is held every year since 2014 at Mystery Creek in Hamilton, New Zealand.
But this year, when Christian group Incendo tried to display signs that said ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ and ‘transgender’, organizers of the event shut it down.
The stall also displayed materials about gay Christians, including a documentary about a Christian lesbian couple with a child.
Organizers of the event said the signs were not appropriate for families attending the festival.
A statement from the organizers read: ‘[Incendo] could not meet expectations of Festival One organisers about what their presence in the Wilder Precinct should be,’ reports Stuff.
Incendo payed $6000 to set up the stall, but left two days into the three day festival.
Openly gay Christian Craig Watson set up the stall and hoped it would spark important conversations.
‘I think it’s just a clear indication of how we are as a Christian journey with this topic.
‘To not be able to use those words at a camp that is predominantly full of teenagers and adults is a clear indication of what’s going on.
‘For me it’s just a sign that we are still not there’
‘We are still quite judgmental when it comes to Christians and churches accepting people with different views,’ Watson said.
When confronted by the organizers on day one, Incendo removed all mention of sexual diversity and offered face painting instead.
But after feeling demotivated, they decided to just pack up the stall and go.
Watson believes it’s important to be actively present at Christian events so LGBTI kids don’t feel isolated.
‘We know that there is a large number of these young people who are exploring and wanting to talk about sexuality and gender identity.
‘It’s a huge thing for a young person… unless you are a straight, normal person then you are an abomination and destined for hell.
‘There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done,’ Watson said.