News Round-Up: June 21, 2021

(image via Depositphotos)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Gaily Grind: 18-year-old Gage Burlile has been arrested after stealing and destroying 25 Pride flags in Boise, Idaho.

The Advocate: A gay couple in East Cove, Florida, are refusing to take down a small Pride flag flying from their mail box after their HOA informed them it was against neighborhood regulations.

Kenneth-in-the-212: Kenneth’s weekly feature for ‘Manspread Monday’ is a cutie.

(image via kenneth-in-the-212)

The Hill: The defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who is accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring a third at a protest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake last August, has raised $464,111 since March 1. His trial is scheduled for November.

LGBTQ Nation: Mexico’s soccer team is begging fans to stop chanting homophobic slurs at their games. After receiving one of the toughest punishment from FIFA in recent years, Mexico’s team president scolded fans: “To those who think it’s fun to yell it out, I have news for you. It’s not.”

CNBC: As more and more major corporations embrace the rainbow during Pride Month, more consumers are paying attention to the companies that are allies more than one month a year.

What To Do When Homeowners Association Says ‘No Pride Flag’

Pride flag flies in the breeze

Pride flag flies in the breeze

While living in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association (HOA) can often ensure your neighbors probably won’t be painting their house Martian green (no offense to Martians), sometimes the rules can inadvertently step on well-meaning toes.

A Redditor recently posted that their HOA had recently revised the rules regarding flags being displayed outside residents’ homes.

“Due to some neighbors flying BLM flags, thin blue line flags, and other opinion flags, our HOA decided last month that we’re only allowed to fly the USA flag, and nothing else,” wrote the poster. “The day after the decision, we received an email that someone reported our Pride flag (that we had on our house since 2016), and that we needed to take it down. We complied and removed the flag.”

But wait – there’s more!

The poster went on to share that they sat down and studied the full set of rules regarding what is and is not allowable in adorning their house. It turns out removable lights are “permitted without restriction.”

So the intrepid Redditor went out and bought several flood lights and bathed the entire home in rainbow pride colors.

Here’s the result:

House lit up in rainbow lights during Pride Month
(image via Imgur)

The post has received over 81,000 upvotes and 6,000+ comments.

Here’s just a few of the supportive comments on the thread:

“It looks far more beautiful than just a flag. Bravo on your fabulous compliance!”

“Call that Home-O-Sexuality”

“This is awesome. F*ck HOAs”

“No Home-of-Phobia allowed”

“Woah. The lighting is much better than a simple flag imo”

Readers – have you ever been told to remove a rainbow flag or other Pride symbols from your home? If so, what did you do?

Biden Administration To Allow Embassies To Fly Pride Flags

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has authorized all U.S. diplomatic outposts and embassies to fly the rainbow Pride flag based on what is ‘appropriate in light of local conditions.’”

The new policy is a sharp reversal from the Trump administration which prohibited the presentation of Pride flags.

Via Foreign Policy:

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has issued a blanket authorization for U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world to fly the Pride flag on the same flagpole as the U.S. flag at their embassy or consulate showcasing support for LGBTQ rights.

In a confidential cable reviewed by Foreign Policy and sent to diplomatic posts around the world, Blinken gave authority for diplomats to fly the Pride flag before May 17, which marks the international day against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia, as well as June, which in the United States and many other countries is Pride month.

To be clear, the authorization is not an ‘order,’ but ‘permission’ allowing diplomats to do as appropriate per the location of the embassy.

Anti-LGBTQ conservative Franklin Graham has already whined about the news on his Facebook page writing,, “Just because something is ‘authorized,’ that doesn’t make it right!”

“Why should a flag representing one group of people and a specific agenda be literally raised up above all others and allowed to fly at our embassies and consulates?”

#HatersGonnaHate

 

Utah: Pride Flag Thief Apologizes With New Flag & Note

New flag hanging after being stolen
New flag hanging after being stolen
(screen capture via Fox13Now)

How about some good news for a Saturday?

Julie Cordell-Seamons of Eagle Mountain, Utah, had several rainbow Pride flags stolen last Halloween. So she was surprised to find a new flag sitting on her porch along with an apology note this week.

“I’m sorry for taking your flag last fall,” read the note reports local news station Fox13Now. “It did not sit right with me, so I’m making it up to you guys for my actions. Have a good 2021.” the note read. (Editor’s note: Corrected for punctuation)

The apology note which read, "I'm sorry for taking your flag last fall. It did not sit right with me, so I'm making it up to you guys for my actions. Have a good 2021."
(screen capture)

The gesture not only surprised but touched Cordell-Seamons.

“I’m assuming it was a trick-or-treater. It looked like a kid from what I could tell,” Cordell-Seamons told FOX 13 on Monday. “But I was so impressed — to have an adult do that, let alone a kid, you know, admit they were wrong and try to make up for it… I seriously started tearing up.”

“In this day and age, we don’t see that a lot, so it meant a lot to me. It warmed my heart.”

Penn Lt. Gov. Won’t Back Down From Displaying Pride Flag

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D)
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D)
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (photo: Flickr/GovTomWolfCC License)

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is currently embroiled in a battle for free speech after he displayed the rainbow Pride flag and the pro-legalization green leaf flag from the balcony of his Capitol office.

Fetterman, an LGBTQ ally, hangs the flags to encourage support for an amendment to the state’s constitution that would outlaw LGBTQ discrimination and for the legalization of marijuana.

According to NBC News, during negotiations for an omnibus spending bill late last year, Republicans (who control the legislature) quietly added a provision that bans ‘unauthorized’ flags on Capitol grounds.

Once Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed the bill into law, state employees removed Fetterman’s flags, folded them, and left them in his office.

The 6-foot-8 Democrat promptly put the flags back on display.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman with his flags
(image via Twitter/JohnFetterman)

He told NBC News “he’ll continue to do so if they’re taken down again until the state legalizes marijuana and outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“It’s unbelievable that they actually passed a law to bar me from [flying his flags], so if they want to send the antigay flag police to take them down, then go ahead,” he told The Advocate.

“They came earlier this year and took them down, and I put them right back up,” he added. “Now this week, they took them down again, and when I’m back in Harrisburg on Monday, I’m going to hang them back up.”

On Twitter, Fetterman shaded the Republican lawmakers writing, “The same party that collectively shrugged at its members being photographed at the January 6th Capitol Hill riot, really really has a issues with my weed and Rainbow flag flags but ok.”

A spokesperson for State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff told NBC News Republicans are just making an effort “to create some uniformity and decorum for what’s outside the Capitol.”

But Fetterman says the clause was a direct swipe and him and his flags.

“It’s flattering to be living rent free in their head like this,” he added.

For the record, the effort to expand the state’s anti-discrimination laws to include LGBTQ people failed this week by a vote of 90-112. Fetterman didn’t hesitate to call out the lawmakers who voted against the bill.

After graduating from Harvard University with a master’s degree in public policy, he ran for mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005 and won by a single vote. He would end up serving four terms as mayor of the Western Pennsylvania town.

He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016 but lost in the primary. The Democrat in that race would ultimately lose in the general election. Fetterman was elected Lt. Governor in 2019.

Now, several sources say he is now considering another run for the Senate in 2022 as Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has announced his retirement.

No Pride Flags Allowed? LGBT Teacher Still Brings The Rainbow

(screen captures)

A bisexual teacher in Nevada was told she couldn’t have a rainbow flag in the classroom because it constitutes ‘political speech,’ so she found other ways to bring the rainbow.

Jennifer Leja teaches 7th and 8th grade students in Reno for the Washoe County School District, and she’s the only openly LGBTQ teacher in the school.

@msleja

My response to this new requirement 😂 #tiktokteacher #middleschool #teachersoftiktok #lgbt #lgbtqteacher

♬ original sound – Jenn Leja

Leja says over the past five years of teaching there she’s always had a rainbow Pride flag in her classroom because her students “are trying to learn who they are and how they identify, and they come towards me.”

But this year, the school district issued a new policy this year prohibiting “partisan political activities” during classroom hours. The new policy orders that “any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered,” reports Buzzfeed News.

Upon receiving the new guidance, Leja asked Trustee Andrew Caudill if rainbow flags or LGBTQ issues were banned as part of the new policy. Caudill emailed the veteran teacher back to say ‘yes,’ LGBTQ issues are banned in the classroom.

In his email, Caudill wrote, “The courts have held LGBTQ+ issues to be political speech and thus, the rainbow flag [is considered] to be political speech, so it cannot be expressed through clothing and other means, such as displaying a flag in your class.”

However, he did add that Leja is allowed to mention her girlfriend because, “Who you are is not impacted by this policy, only what is expressed in class through visual aids.”

But Leja says , pointing to marriage equality being legal in every state across the country, “I don’t think my existence and my identity is a political issue.”

She also notes that she’s become the defacto ‘go-to’ person for students coming to realize who they are or their identity.

“It’s important for me because I feel like there are students who spend their lives in the closet and especially in middle school; that is when students are starting to figure out where they are,” Leja told Buzzfeed. “They go through that time period where they don’t know who they are or what they like.”

She shares that she has a transgender student in her class this year, and she’s intent on making sure the student feels supported in her classroom.

And so, even without putting a traditional Pride flag on display, Leja found a way to make her perspective known whether through lots of rainbow lettering on banners, rainbow feathers in her pencil jar, rainbow ducttape to spread desks or a rainbow face mask during the coronavirus.

It’s worth noting that the new policy doesn’t apply to students who are still allowed to dress or express themselves as they wish.

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Caudill said that the new guidance isn’t just about LGBTQ issues, but “other kinds of speech such as Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, NRA, etc.”

He shared that it would “inappropriate” for the District to pick and choose only the speech it agrees with. And so, the decision was made to ask staff “to refrain from all single-issue political speech,” he said.

“But I want to be abundantly clear, the policy does not require staff to hide their own sexuality,” added Caudill. “Teachers can let students know their sexuality, or mention their significant others, if they wish, regardless of sexuality. The policy does not impact who a teacher is, it only impacts the advocacy for a specific political position.”

Viral Video Trolls Pride Flag Thief: ‘We’re So Sorry A Rainbow Bruised Your Fragile Ego’

(screen capture)

A gay couple in Chicago went viral with their cheeky video clap back aimed at a thief who stole a Pride flag from their front porch.

Twitter user BowtieinChicago shared the video which mocks the banner bandit with sass galore.

“To the person who stole the Pride flag off our front porch, we’re so sorry a rainbow bruised your fragile ego,” begins the narration. “But, don’t worry – we have next-day Amazon Prime. You can keep taking our flag but you’ll never take our pride!”

During the clip, Pride flags literally run rampant as the boys show off a plethora of newly-acquired rainbows.

The duo warns the pennant pilferer to smile for the security cameras next time as they sign off with, “Love, the big ole homos who live here.”

The Twitterverse loved the cheeky video so much its been viewed over 358,000 times and received over 42K+ Likes.

Related: Iowa Man Sentenced To 16 Years In Prison For Stealing/Burning Pride Flag

One of the best responses on Twitter read, “This is Our Culture: clapback with humor, flair, and a generous helping of Petty. Love and power to you!”

Military Ban On Confederate Flags Effectively Bans Pride Flags As Well

(image via Depositphotos)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued new guidance on Thursday regarding flag displays on military installations effectively banning the display of Confederate flags without actually using the word ‘Confederate.’

In the unclassified memo, Esper writes, “The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”

Esper’s memo goes on to list the specific kinds of flags that will be allowed to be displayed in addition to the American flag: flags of the U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia; military flags and those of U.S. allies.

The new guidance applies to “public displays or depictions of flags by service members and civilian employees in all Department of Defense workplaces, common access areas, and public areas.” Those spaces include open-bay barracks, parking lots, schools, individual offices, and break rooms.

According to reports, the new rules are meant to be an indirect approach to banning Confederate flags without raising the ire of Donald Trump, who has made appeasing racist groups a part of his reelection campaign.

However, the new flag guidance also effectively prohibits the display of LGBTQ Pride flags since they aren’t listed among the approved list of flags.

Pentagon spokesman Lisa Lawrence confirmed this on Friday in an official statement: “The memorandum does not authorize public display of unlisted flags in the Department of Defense.”

While many political pundits say the point of the new guidance is to address Confederate flags, it’s well-known that displaying rainbow flags in military settings has irked some anti-LGBTQ conservatives. So, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine the prohibition of Pride flags isn’t intentional on some level.

The Modern Military Association of America, the largest LGBTQ military and veteran advocacy group organization in the U.S. responded to the news by demanding Esper reconsider the effects of his vague language.

“It’s absolutely outrageous that Defense Secretary Mark Esper would ban the Pride flag — the very symbol of inclusion and diversity,” wrote MMAA Interim Executive Director Jennifer Dane on the group’s official website. “In what universe is it ok to turn an opportunity to ban a racist symbol like the Confederate flag into an opportunity to ban the symbol of diversity? This decision sends an alarming message to LGBTQ service members, their families, and future recruits.”

“The Pentagon must immediately reconsider and take swift and appropriate action to ensure the Pride flag and LGBTQ Pride Month observances are not threatened. If Secretary Esper refuses to reconsider, we call on Members of Congress to take action.”

The anti-Trump group VoteVets also denounced the idea of equating the Confederate flag with the Pride flag in a statement on Twitter.

“It is patently offensive that Mark Esper has, along with the Confederate flag, declared the Pride flag to be ‘divisive,’” Goodwin said. “The Pride flag celebrates the hard-fought rights of LGBTQ Americans, including many troops. To equate it with a symbol that represented a denial of human rights is disgusting and a slap in the face of those members of the community who serve, or seek to serve, in uniform.”

Gay Man Loses Front Teeth In Homophobic Attack Over Pride Flag

Tom Anderson (screen capture via Boston 25 News)

A gay man in the southeastern Massachusetts town of Taunton was attacked in his own front yard in late June for hanging a rainbow Pride flag.

Tom Anderson told local news affiliate Boston 25 News he and his husband Jacob had the flag up for only an hour when a random driver by stopped his car, got out and attacked him.

As the man approached, Anderson says he cursed at him, using homophobic slurs and punched him in the face.

“I was kind of in a state of disbelief like ‘Really? I’m in my own yard,’” Anderson told the news outlet.

“I saw the guy just come up and yell those nasty words at my husband and then hit him two or three times and then took off back into his car and screeched away,” said Jacob Anderson, Tom’s husband.

As a result of the attack, Tom lost his two front teeth and required several stitches to close his wounds.

(screen capture)

“It’s definitely a hate crime just based on the words he used,” Jacob added.

The couple says another person passing by witnessed the attack and stopped to help them.

The local police were called and given a description of the man and his car but no word yet on if the attacker has been found. Taunton Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Tom says his concern is that people may think “this is okay to do.”

Still, the Andersons share their community has been “amazing.” Since the incident, they’ve seen an outpouring of support from friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers. The couple, who have been married nine years, say they’ve even received a home security system as a gift.

And instead of becoming fearful in the aftermath of the attack, Tom says he has no plans to stop flying his Pride flag.

In fact, he says, “I want to just keep it up all year long now.”

(source: Boston 25 News)