Monday, March 19, 2012

"That damn rainbow flag...."

To set the stage, let me first say that I own a charming well maintained bungalow in the alphabet streets of Salt Lake City’s Sugar House district. The neighborhood is gentrified with 60-70 foot sycamores lining streets that could have come directly from a Frank Capra movie. The residents are a mix of the religious and irreligious, the young and the old, the wealthy and the middle class. This being Sugar House, there are a smattering of homes owned by members of the “Family.”

Russ, my roommate, has a 3X4 foot rainbow flag that he insists on hanging on our front porch. It’s not just on display for the Pride Festival; it is hanging for all to see day after day, week after week, month after month.

While I generally feel real pride when I approach the house and see that flag flapping joyfully in the breeze, sometimes that ever present banner makes me a bit uncomfortable. Occasionally the thought of flying that rainbow flag 365 days a year seems just a little too “in your face” for the neighborhood, just a bit too aggressive for my taste.

Several weeks ago, one of my roommates, Joey, was walking our dog when he happened on a group of women chatting in the street several houses from our home. As Joey passed the group, they glared in his direction as one of the women pointed to our house and said, “And then they’ve got that damned flag hanging out for everyone to see. I just can’t believe it.”

Joey was angry. I was stunned.

Needless to say, my feelings about flying the rainbow flag have changed significantly since Joey’s walk. While I have a moral obligation to be kind, considerate and helpful to my neighbors, I don’t have an obligation to hide who I am.

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