Open letter to the Lopez community | Guest column

Submitted by Nancy Ewert, Lopez Island.

A few weeks ago, a longtime Lopez friend made the courageous decision to come out. As part of that intentional act, he placed two Pride flags at the bottom of his drive. The flags were stolen that same night.

This hurt me deeply on behalf of my friend, and for all of those who live in fear of being true to themselves in heart and soul.

My response was to place my own bright, beautiful Pride flag at the end of my driveway in solidarity. Two weeks later, Monday night, May 10, my flag was ripped off of the wooden pole attached to my mailbox. I had taken great care to place it high enough that it would not interfere or inconvenience anyone. My wooden flagpole was snapped in two. I was devastated.

What does this Pride flag mean to me?

The answer is… a LOT. It signifies my commitment to love and acceptance for all human beings. We are all uniquely human and our hearts and souls are as individual as our bodies. It is important to me to show the love and acceptance I hold in my heart for all of our community, our country and our world. I know that those growing up gay/lesbian/transgender struggle to feel this kind of love and acceptance from those they live within the community. Sadly, this can be a lifelong struggle. My flying this bright flag is a public statement that my home and my presence is a safe and loving space for all.

I would like to think our community provides this same safe space and I firmly believe that in many ways we do, but there is apparently someone(s) who feels that it is their right to vandalize, show hatred and steal from private property. This is a cowardly act and one that our community needs to stand up against, and I intend to continue to do so.

When I see my brightly colored flag flowing in the breeze, it is a daily reminder to me of the values I hold dear. It is my hope that this flag may also be a reminder to others that we can celebrate our diversity and share love and acceptance for all.

Please join me by standing in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ neighbors this Pride Month. Secure your flagpoles and fly your Pride flags high!