Susan Pearlman lives in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. So she was surprised when the day after the election, she came home to find an anonymous letter from a neighbor saying that they were "deeply troubled" by the pride flag that Pearlman was flying outside her home.
The neighbor said in the letter that the flag, designed to look like an American flag but with rainbow stripes instead of the red and white, "overlooks so many things the original American flag represents." The neighbor goes on to ask Pearlman not to take the flag down but to instead put an American flag next to it, side by side. The full letter, which Pearlman shared on the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group is below...
Pearlman, who has a gay daughter, told Mashable that she put the flag up after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. She said she was shocked to receive the letter because her community has a "history of being LGBT friendly."
"It was just a little disconcerting," Pearlman told MLive. "There was something threatening about that. I found myself for two nights, I just kept looking out the window. Like, is someone watching me? There was no address."
So she decided to show the letter to a few of her neighbors, and their response was pretty special. "I opened the letter the evening of Nov 9th after returning home and immediately showed a few of my neighbors. One of them read the letter and asked where she could find a flag... a couple others agreed with her. Then in response to an email I then sent to the rest of my street the flag 'wall' grew!"
As of today, there are 20 of the flags flying across the neighborhood, with even more neighbors pledging to do the same.
Neighbors who've seen the note say it seemed polite enough, but that they were concerned that the author wished to remain anonymous and seemed unwilling to discuss the issue.
Pearlman says she was more bothered by the irony of the request. "Part of that freedom is you can fly whatever flag you want," she added.