Surge in Anti-LGBTQ Across America, Massachusetts Community Rally in Support

Over 200 pride flags were stolen in Carlisle, Massachusetts, just before the town’s Pride event, but this is just the tip of the iceberg as anti-LGBTQ+ incidents across the United States continue to rise.

Stolen Flags

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Between the last Sunday and Monday of May in Carlisle, Massachusetts, over 200 pride flags were stolen from a central display just before the city’s local pride event and the beginning of Pride Month.

Police Response

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The Carlisle Police Department says they are actively investigating the theft and requested public assistance in the investigation of the missing flags.

Community Values

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Carlisle Police Chief Andrew Amendola emphasized the seriousness of the incident and said the situation goes against Carlisle’s inclusive community values.

Very Seriously

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Amendola said, “We are taking this very seriously,” and, “It is unfortunate, as Carlisle is an inclusive community, and we want everyone to feel safe and welcomed here.”

Community Reaction

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The Carlisle Select Board condemned the theft as a cowardly act that undermined freedom of expression and highlighted the sadness brought upon the town of over 5,000 people.

No Place in Our Town

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 The Carlisle Select Board stated, “Stealing property and undermining freedom of expression is a cowardly act and has no place in our town.”

Rapid Response to Replace Flags

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Despite the theft happening just days before the town’s local pride event, community members swiftly replaced the stolen flags.

Increased Turnout

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After the flags were stolen, the town’s Pride event went on as planned, and news outlets reported a strong turnout and increased interest in the event due to the incident.

Organizer’s Perspective

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Rachel Freed, a pride festival organizer, echoed the sentiment by highlighting the increased attention the incident brought to the event and reaffirmed the community’s resilience.

Responding With Love

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Rachel Freed told WCVB-TV, it’s brought a lot more interest in this,” and “Carlisle always responds with love.”

Recent Trends in Anti-LGBTQ+ Incidents

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Unfortunately, the theft in Carlisle is part of a broader pattern of anti-LGBTQ+ actions across the United States, with numerous incidents of pride flag theft, vandalism, and destruction in several states over the past year.

High-Profile Incidents

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In North Hollywood, California, a small LGBTQ+ flag was set on fire at an elementary school, and in states like Utah, Arizona, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, they also reported pride flag vandalism in the last week of June.

Violent Incidents

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Even more unfortunate, the pattern of anti-LGBTQ+ incidents has included some acts of violence, such as the fatal shooting of a Southern California shop owner over a pride flag displayed outside her store.

Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

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As this surge in anti-LGBTQ+ incidents rises before Pride, there has been a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the United States, with over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 2023.

Human Rights Campaign Report

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With all these events happening in conjunction, the Human Rights Campaign declared a “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ individuals in June 2023 due to the proliferation of these laws. 

The ACLU Weighs In

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The ACLU has also responded to the situation with a new campaign meant to highlight ongoing advocacy against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Passing Laws that Limit the Protection

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In a statement, the ACLU said, “While more states every year work to pass laws to protect LGBTQ people, state legislatures are advancing bills that target transgender people, limit local protections and allow the use of religion to discriminate.”

Public Opinion Trends

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Despite these efforts, a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute showed a decline in public support for same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections.

Failing Support

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In the poll, it was revealed that support for same-sex marriage dropped from 69% to 67%, and support for nondiscrimination laws among young adults fell from 83% in 2020 to 75% in 2023.

The post Massachusetts LGBTQ Under Attack: Proud Communities Rally After Surge of Anti-LGBTQ Across America first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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