Hanging up a Pride flag shouldn’t be an act of courage. But that’s where we are today in America.
Laura Ann Carleton of California lost her life after a madman argued with her over a rainbow flag that was hanging in her store. He shot and killed her – over a flag.
Let that sink in. What have we become?
There’s never a day that goes by that I am not wearing a rainbow – whether that’s my watch band, or the laces on my shoes, somewhere, there’s always an array of colors.
My mother has often in the past cautioned me about being so … out. I always laughed it off, and ignored her warnings.
But now. Maybe she has a point.
Our opponents have been demonizing us for the last couple of years – their rhetoric has gotten more hateful, more violent and more untruthful. Calling us groomers is the norm nowadays – not the exception. Laws are being passed all over the U.S. restricting us and stripping us of our rights. Our opponents are constantly finding new ways to dehumanize and target us.
When you hurl that type of hate towards any marginalized community, bad things happen.
Carleton was an ally. When others warned her against flying the Pride flag in her store – she ignored them and did so anyway.
In fact, when those flags were torn down in the past her daughter said to Anderson Cooper, “[S]he always went and ordered an even larger flag in response and put it out. So, you know, I admire her, and I’m so proud of her. And I know that she passed standing up for something that she believed in.”
Hanging up a Pride flag, though, shouldn’t be an act of courage.
But how can we expect our allies to die over Pride flags?
I can’t expect them too. But I refuse to stop wearing my rainbows. We cannot let our opponents win through fear and intimidation.
Hanging up a Pride flag shouldn’t be an act of courage – but now it is.
So grab your rainbow flags and fly them higher than ever before – in honor of Carleton.
May we find hope and courage in her memory.