Is It Safe to Fly a Pride Flag After California Shooting Tragedy?

Author: Christopher Wiggins

Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community has increasingly become dangerous over the last few years. Throughout the country, far-right extremists have targeted transgender people, and Republicans have enacted legislation to remove their rights and erase them from society. More than 550 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation have been introduced in states around the country this year, and more than 80 have become law.

People were encouraged to show more pride this year than usual to counter the narrative that LGBTQ+ individuals are dangerous or a threat to society. Lauri Carleton did the same. However, her allyship led to her death.

The owner of the Mag.Pi Boutique in the Southern California town of Cedar Glen was shot and killed last week for displaying a Pride flag. She was a 66-year-old straight cisgender mother who was merely expressing solidarity with LGBTQ+ people by displaying a Pride flag. Last Friday, she was confronted by a 27-year-old man about the flag. After a dispute where she refused to take the flag down, the man shot and killed Carleton.

The gunman was shot and killed by the police shortly after.

The Advocate wanted to know from its readers how people felt in the aftermath of the Carleton’s killing.

“Do you feel safe displaying a Pride flag in front of your home or business in the wake of this tragedy?” we asked.

Chad Banks from Wyoming responded on Facebook.

“We live in Wyoming and proudly display a flag. It wasn’t without a bit of hesitation and trepidation though,” he wrote.

On Instagram, Aamon Carver expressed a similar sentiment. When it comes to displaying his pride, he is “mostly” comfortable.

“Our flag was recently cut down leaving the tips of the colors in shreds hanging from the bent flag pole,” he wrote. “Our son walked out for his first day of preschool to find the flag that we only took down once for him to wear as a cape for the local pride festival earlier this summer.”

Many people, however, are afraid to express themselves publicly.

“I do not feel safe, but I wish I did because I would love to fly a big trans flag out front. The area I live in is very rural and I live alone. I don’t need to advertise to the local rednecks that I’m here and make myself a target,” wrote one Instagram follower.

Brad Antwine responded, “I grew up in Texas from the 60s to the 80s and never felt safe, which is how I still feel to this day.”

Renee Adler said she doesn’t feel safe displaying a Pride flag.

“Every day I’m afraid to talk about the LGBTQ+ community in public because I don’t know what will happen,” she wrote. “That’s why every time I see our community or allies mindlessly attacked or slaughtered, a part of me dies inside. Because it shows that even though we have had progress it can be taken away in a second.”

A person on Threads responded by posting a photo of their Jeep with several Pride flags in the rear.

“Last time I flew my flags on my Jeep I got several waves and thumbs-ups. Only one person gave me the finger; and that was from a coward who did it and sped off. Love is still winning despite these public assaults,” the person wrote.

Several others remained defiant.

“I went out and bought 2 more pride flags after this incident. I refuse to be intimidated and shamed back into the closet again,” they wrote.

Another person said, “The flag has flown in front of my home since I moved in. Won’t take it down no matter how unsafe these people want to make us feel.”

“We live in Boise, Idaho, and there have been several times my wife and I have considered taking down our flag because we’ve felt unsafe, but we keep it up for the kids,” Instagram user mizzboo wrote. “We’ve had so many young people ring our bell just to thank us for flying it, and that makes it worth outing ourselves a hundred times over.”

How do you feel about displaying your Pride flags?

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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