A female couple who have spent years professionally playing with fire set both their dresses ablaze while saying "I do" on October 13 in Iowa -- yet after they posted photos of the ceremony, many commenters expressed homophobia rather than concern for the women's safety.
When April Jennifer Choi and Bethany Byrnes tied the knot after seven years of dating, they wanted to incorporate their love of pyrotechnics into the ceremony.
"What we enjoy the most about performing with fire is feeling like a firebender from Avatar: The Last Airbender," Choi, a fire performer who holds multiple Guinness World Records for whip-cracking, told PinkNews. [facebook https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D2189603827779162%26set%3Da.106952736044292%26type%3D3&width=500 expand=1 site_id=25879312]
Byrnes, who is also no stranger to stunts, won the world record for 2017 for "most straws crack-whipped from the mouth in one minute."
For their ceremony, Choi and Byrnes decided to set their detachable wedding gown trains on fire.
"I was just running through if we missed anything. Are we posed correctly? Are the slits adequate? Is Beth OK? Is she nervous? Is the fire climbing correctly? Is there any way I can comfort her better?" Choi told the site. "By the time I started answering my own questions, Beth hopped out of her dress and then I double-checked that she was OK, then hopped out of my own."
As their astounding wedding photos went viral, the two received homophobic comments, Choi revealed in a Facebook post.
"I have seen directed at us and received multiple threats of violence and death from people, people wishing me to die, people thanking god we already started burning before going to hell, men telling me I needed to be raped before my wedding so I would have picked a husband instead, many other hateful comments and messages regarding this photo," Choi wrote. "So, there was indeed danger from creating this photo, but not from what you would think."
In fact, the number of people who have died because of being LGBTQ is 100 times greater than the number of deaths from performing professional fire stunts.
"I am far more likely to be killed because of marrying another woman than I was from being set on fire," Choi wrote in her post.