ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -Anger over a gay pride rainbow flag that mimics the U.S. stars and stripes prompted a public demonstration by the LGBT community Saturday. Demonstrators waved pride flags and displayed posters at the corner of South Grand and Wyoming. It was a rally supporting a LGBT couple who were targeted for displaying the gay pride flag on their Tower Grove East front porch.
Wednesday two white men in a pickup stopped as Meg Hensley and her partner Kendan Elliott were leaving for work. The two say the men shouted slurs and criticized them for their flag. Later that day Hensley discovered someone had posted a photo of their flag with foul, anti-gay comments on the “Rant and Rave” comment section of the St. Louis Craig’s List.
“It wasn’t just anger there was a lot of name calling and bashing and even threats. It was very scary,’ said Elliott. Hensley agreed saying, “On their post on Craig’s list it said we make them sick to see us every day. That makes me think they live in my neighborhood.”
Hensley spread her concerns to her neighbors via the Tower Grove East Facebook site. She received a quick response with people promising to watch for the potential suspects in the area.
Both said the comments went beyond free speech into harassment.
Elliott said, “I think there is always that ethical dilemma of where do you draw the line,” adding but, “When someone is threatening me outside my home and then posting things basically encouraging other people to harass me at my home then I feel like it crosses that line.”
Sayer Johnson of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group organized the street demonstration. “We are a valuable part of this community and bulling and intolerance is not going to be stood for anymore,” he said.
Craig’s List offers a harassment flag button on its web site so readers can remove postings that contain personal information or harassing statements. The couple praised the St. Louis Police Department for taking on their case. They said the police will subpoena information Craig’s List in hopes of locating the person who placed the vulgar comments on the Internet.