Family’s rainbow flag burned down days before Pride

Authorities are investigating a suspected hate crime after a Kansas family’s rainbow flag was set on fire just days before Pride.

The Gingrich-Gaylord family hung a Pride flag outside their house in Wichita, Kansas, to show their support for the LGBT+ community.

But on Saturday, September 21, the family awoke to find the flag “melted down into a plastic mess”, a week ahead of Wichita Pride.

Mum Micala Gingrich-Gaylord posted pictures of the shocking scene on Facebook, saying: “This is so far beyond vandalism and falls squarely into a hate crime. Please watch out for on another. This could have set our home on fire.”

“I don’t have a lot of words to whoever did this,” Micala’s husband, Zach Gingrich-Gaylord, told KSNW-TV. “They are acting out of fear and bigotry and intolerance.”

He says they were the first on their street to fly a Pride flag, which is why he suspects they were targeted. “There wasn’t any other vandalism associated with it. It was that specific flag on this specific house.”

Police believe the alleged hate crime happened between 1am and 6am while the family, including their 11-year-old daughter, was sleeping.

The family’s flag before it was set on fire (Facebook/Micala Gingrich-Gaylord)

But it’s not the first act of vandalism the family has faced as LGBT+ allies – a few weeks ago their flag was stolen before being found and returned by a neighbour. “The hypothetical reason was wind,” noted Micala on Facebook.

In response, the Gingrich-Gaylords bought extra Pride flags for all their neighbours. Four other homes on the street are now proudly flying the flags, but so far no one else has been targeted.

“We overwhelm something like this with acts of love,” Micala said. “We did what we do as a family. We don’t respond to bigotry or fascism.”