Theft of lesbians’ Pride flag leads neighbours to fly dozens in support

Illinois lesbian couple Casey Handal and Zadette Rosado, who had their Pride flag stolen

A lesbian couple in Illinois had their Pride flag stolen—so their neighbours bought dozens to display on their homes.

Casey Handal and Zadette Rosado realised on December 9 that the rainbow flag flying in their backyard had been taken and replaced with an American flag, which Handal told the Chicago Tribune was a “premeditated” and “intolerant” act.

Handal reported the incident to police in Illinois, who haven’t made any arrests, and posted about it on local social network Nextdoor to see if anyone in their Fox Point neighbourhood had seen the theft happen.

Illinois lesbian couple’s neighbours come to their aid

In response, high school social worker Kimberly Filian announced on the app that she had bought four dozen Pride flags so that Fox Point residents could show they supported LGBT+ people.

“I’m so sick of all this hate,” Filian explained. “I just feel inundated in the media and everywhere I look, all those terrible stories.

“It’s overwhelming sometimes. I felt like it was one thing I could do to show support—just something little.”

Several dozen neighbours have also volunteered to act as Secret Santas, dropping off gifts like candy, mugs and socks for the women and their two daughters, nine-year-old Payton and seven-year-old Reese, until New Year’s Eve, when the pair are set to marry.

A photo of Illinois lesbian couple Casey Handal and Zadette Rosado

Casey Handal and Zadette Rosado have replaced the Pride flag in their garden (zadette rosado/facebook)

Handal said the locals’ actions had turned the story into a positive one.

“The fact that this story might make someone smile, maybe it’s not so bad, and maybe the hate we see so much is not the mass of people but individuals,” she said.

“I think it makes it all worth it if this crummy thing that happened can lead to spreading more joy and happiness in the world.”

On Facebook, she added: “We are so lucky to live in a community who loves and supports us so much.”

Handal has now replaced her Pride flag, and said that it was in their garden “to represent our family.

“The girls loved it, and not just because it’s pretty. Every time they’d have a friend come over they’d be like: ‘Hey, look at our flag. Isn’t it cool?’”

Illinois neighbours explain why they’re all flying the Pride flag

Kristin Cannon, a friend of the lesbian couple, said that “especially in the climate we’re in, it just shows there are a lot of people who have a lot of love in their hearts.

“That love is bigger than the discrimination against a family like theirs.”

“They’ve come together. Everyone wanted to do their best to make this right”

— Friend of the family Stephanie Paine

Another friend of the family, Stephanie Paine, said that neighbours with different political beliefs were taking part, saying: “People who I know are conservative are participating in secret Santa.

“They’ve come together. Everyone wanted to do their best to make this right.”

And neighbour Robert Colvin, whose grown-up son came out as gay a few years back, said that to him, flying the Pride flag was a display of patriotism.

“Just because somebody’s gay doesn’t mean they’re wrong, doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means they’re a little different and that’s just fine,” he said.

“That’s America. That’s what it should be, anyway.”