News (USA)

Cowardly vandals urinated on queer family’s Pride flag & ran away

Blurred surveillance camera footage of the vandal peeing on the family's Pride flag. Photo: YouTube screenshot

Police in Columbus, Ohio are seeking two men who were caught on camera saying homophobic slurs before one of them pulled down his pants and urinated on a rainbow Pride flag displayed on the front porch of a queer family’s home.

The vandalism took place on the night of Thursday, February 8 in the city’s Weinland Park neighborhood. Video from the family’s front door surveillance camera showed one man in blue urinating on the flag while his friend, wearing red, recorded the vandalism from the front porch steps.

The man in blue then yelled some homophobic slurs and knocked on the family’s front door before running off with his friend.

One of the family members living in the house, a trans mother named Zoe, posted a video of the incident online to set an example for her own children.

“I’ve got a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, and we’ve had the gamut of school experiences,” Zoe told WBNS. “This isn’t something that they should expect as normalized in their life.”

Police responded by appearing at the family’s house a few hours later. The officers arrived with an LGBTQ+ police liaison who handles hate crimes. Police are now investigating the incident as a hate crime, but officers have not revealed if they have identified the suspected vandals.

In the meanwhile, it has put other members of the family on edge.

“Honestly, I’ve been a little more anxious, I’ve been checking the camera feeds, I’ve been looking outside more I’ve been more cautious,” Raven, one of the family members, told the aforementioned news outlet. Another family member named Sarah said she worried this vandalism could be a sign of worse things ahead.

However, the family members said they were not looking to ruin the vandals’ lives — they just wanted the vandals to understand why their actions were wrong and how much genuine hurt they caused people. The family has also said that it will continue to display their Pride flag proudly.

“We’re not looking for trouble, we’re not looking for a fight,” said a family member named Kieve, “but we are looking to uplift our community and be a safe space for our community.”

The number of LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Ohio has increased between 2020 and 2022, according to the FBI. In 2020, the FBI recorded 69 hate crimes targeting people’s perceived sexual orientation. In 2022, that number rose to 81 — a 17 % increase. In 2020, the FBI recorded 34 hate crimes targeting people’s perceived gender identity. In 2022, that number rose to 45 — a 32% increase.

Ohio recently passed a ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors as well as a ban on trans girls and women participating in scholastic sports teams matching their gender identity.

At least one state Republican lawmaker said he wants to ban gender-affirming care for trans adults as well. In January, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) proposed rules that would have restricted adults from accessing such care, but the state removed the restrictions in early February.

Numerous families and individuals have begun seeking emergency relocation funds to flee the state.

The state has also recently prohibited several trans politicians from running for office because they didn’t include their deadnames on election paperwork.

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