Metro Weekly

Ohio family claims someone stole their Pride flag and burned it

Father of the family says he hopes the incident sparks a larger discussion about LGBTQ tolerance

Pride flag – Photo Credit: Kevin Goebel/flickr.

An Ohio family claims someone stole an LGBTQ Pride flag that they had hung from their front porch and burned it.

The Fitzpatric family of Wyoming, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, claims the unknown person came onto the porch to steal the flag and apparently tripped over their Christmas lights. Then the thief burned the flag at the corner of Beech Avenue and Worthington Avenue.

“It’s a real sense of violation to have somebody come onto your property,” Michele Fitzpatric, the mother, told local Cincinnati affiliate FOX19. “It’s an act of violence; it’s a threat.”

The Fitzpatrics said they put up the flag in June after they discussed the meaning behind the flag, and because their daughter, Maggie, said she was disturbed by the bullying of gay or transgender kids in school.

“I think [people] don’t necessarily realize the hurt that they are causing for those that are part of that community,” Maggie Fitzpatric said. 

She said several friends reached out after the flag burning.

“They were speechless,” Maggie said. “They never thought that this type of thing would have happened, especially in Wyoming,” adding that she previously believed Wyoming was a “very accepting community.”

The family told FOX19 they’ve ordered a new, bigger flag to replace the burned one, and said that several of their neighbors have ordered similar flags as a show of support.

Bill Fitzpatric, the father of the family, posted on his Facebook page that he and his wife had initially “struggled” with how to address the incident.

See also: Michigan couple believes their home was vandalized over Trans Pride flag

“While the financial impact of this crime is low, the emotional impact is high. We fly that flag to show support for groups of people that are marginalized and victimized just for having the courage to honor their true selves and to pursue loving, fulfilling relationships,” he wrote. “That someone carries enough hate in their heart to walk up to a house blazing with Christmas lights to steal and burn a gay/trans pride flag shows why we as a community need to be even more vocal in our support.

“My flag, just like a gay or trans person living their authentic lives, is not harming anyone and is not offensive to anyone who is not a bigot,” Fitzpatric wrote, adding he hopes the incident sparks a larger discussion about “the type of community in which we want to live and raise our kids.”

“Clearly bigotry starts at home,” he wrote. “Kids aren’t born hateful; they are taught by their parents, and it can either be reinforced or mitigated by their teachers and peers. If you’re not a bigot, please talk to your kids explicitly about hate of all kinds. Don’t assume they know how to be against hate, not just passive in the face of it. Give them the tools and support to actively stand up against hate. Your kids are the peers of kids being taught hate at home and can help a good kid born to bad parents be a better person.”

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