In the days following the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Nano Rodriguez, a gay Latino man living in Arizona — and let’s not even go into how it must be to be gay and Latino in Arizona these days — started flying a Rainbow flag outside his apartment as a show of show solidarity with the victims of that mass shooting:
“I don’t really know how, but it just gave me some sort of comfort to be able to show my support.”
Sadly, Rodriguez’ landlord wasn’t so supportive and voiced his objections — expressing “safety” concerns — and asked Rodriguez to take down the flag:
“As stated in terms of your lease … the property is to be kept clean, safe and carefully maintained. I realize this does not refer specifically to flags, so I would like to clarify. In managing this property I have a responsibility for the safety of all the tenants and property. The nature of the flag you are displaying could unfortunately promote negative reactions and possibly harmful retaliation to tenants and property.”
Huh. So a Rainbow flag is bad … not clean … not safe? Well, maybe not to the people who hate The Gays so much that they need to be quarantined if they so much as see an LGBT Pride symbol?
Perhaps the landlord should, instead of writing to Nano Rodriguez, send letters of inclusivity to all the neighbors and explain why Rodriguez is flying the flag and ask them to do the same. Wouldn’t it be nice to honor those victims and not punish people for caring?
Rodriguez says he won’t take down his flag and that he is “not looking to press charges or do anything drastic” but, sadly, though Tempe has an anti-discrimination ordinance in place, it would not likely protect Rodriguez, since it applies primarily to discrimination by business owners against customers. He can, however, file a complaint with the city manager if the landlord demands the flag be taken down.
But what about the landlord’s concerns? Well, so far no one — other than the landlord — is concerned about the flag and one of Nano’s neighbors, a Roman Catholic man sees the flying of the flag as a form of free expression:
“I’m a big Blackhawks fan so I have Blackhawks stuff hanging up. So I mean, If they want to fly it that’s fine you know, doesn’t bother me either way.”
Oh lawdy lawdy lawdy … he has sports stuff flying? Where’s the landlord now?
I kid … or do I?