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Watch: 'A Real Sense of Violation': Ohio Family's Pride Flag Stolen, Burned

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday December 6, 2020

A family in the Ohio town of Wyoming says that someone trespassed on their property, stole the Pride flag from their porch, and then destroyed it in an act of arson, reports news station Fox19 Now.

The reporter at the scene told the news channel that the Fitzpatric family described how "the person who stole this flag walked right up onto their front porch, even tripping over some wires that are holding their Christmas lights up. And it was all to steal the LGBTQ Pride flag right from the holder that's right on their porch."

The report added that the flag was stolen on Dec. 3 and then carried to the end of the street, where the thief set it on fire and left it burning on the sidewalk.

"It's a real sense of violation to have somebody come onto your property,"

said Michele Fitzpatric, who characterized the intrusion and subsequent property destruction as "as act of violence" and "a threat."

"A passerby noticed the flag on the ground and made a post to the Wyoming neighborhood group on Nextdoor.com, which alerted a nearby homeowner that their flag was missing," reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Fitzpatrics put the flag up on their porch last June, Pride month, "after they sat down as a family to talk about the meaning behind the flag," Fox19 Now reported.

"It's a way to show support of very marginalized people in our community," said Michele Fitzpatric.

Daughter Maggie has witnessed LGBTQ classmates being bullied at school, the family said.

"I think they don't necessarily realize the hurt that they are causing for those that are part of that community," Maggie said of students who express anti-LGBTQ sentiments or engage in homophobic harassment.

Having now been targeted with an act of bias-driven hate themselves, the family remain unbowed in their advocacy for the LGBTQ community, the Fox19 Now report noted. The Fitzpatrics have "already ordered a new, bigger flag to replace the burned one.

"They also say several of their neighbors on the street have ordered similar flags in a show of support," the news story added.

The town's chief of police, Rusty Herzog, told the Enquirer that there are no suspects as yet, but law enforcement is investigating. "We can't tolerate that type of crime," Chief Herzog said.

To watch the Fox19 Now news clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.