‘Stars and stripes’ rainbow flag stolen at Tenn. university following complaints

Joshua Rigsby

Joshua Rigsby, with the "stars and stripes" rainbow flag in the background.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A rainbow pride flag that emulates the American flag’s stars and stripes has been stolen from a display at Middle Tennessee State University amid complaints by local community members.

The flag was displayed as part of an exhibit celebrating LGBT student group MT Lambda’s 25 years on the MTSU campus, and for commemorating October as LGBT History Month, according to Joshua Rigsby, the group’s president.

Joshua Rigsby

Joshua Rigsby, with the “stars and stripes” rainbow flag in the background.

Members of the local community said the rainbow stripes constituted a desecration of the American flag, reported WTVF-TV.

“This is just un-American and against the law,” wrote one WTVF viewer, in an email to the Nashville TV station. “They removed the red white and blue and replaced with a rainbow.”

A university spokesperson confirmed to LGBTQ Nation that the Dean’s office received several complaints about the flag within three days after the display went up.

The flag was subsequently stolen from the display on Saturday.

“It’s really caught us by surprise that this flag has caused so much controversy, because in essence it’s not an American flag, it’s symbolic of that,” said Rigsby.

“Desecrating an American flag would entail ripping, or shredding, or burning an actual 13-red-and-white-stripe American flag,” he said. “And that’s not what this is.”

Rigsby noted that the group has marched with this flag in the annual homecoming parade for several years.

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