By Alex Temblador
Melinda and Kelly Person are raising their three kids in Guilderland, New York. Following the Orlando attack in June, the moms decided to show their support for those whose lives were lost by hanging a rainbow flag outside of their home. It was well received by most neighbors and a few even stopped by to make nice comments about it.
However, their rainbow flag ignited something in their immediate neighbors, an older homophobic couple who has now begun harassing the two-mom family.
It began with the older couple erecting “No Trespassing” signs along the border that separates their yards (as there’s no fence).
In an attempt to be cordial and keep the peace, Melinda went to talk to her neighbors: “I asked them if they would take the signs down, apologized for whatever we may have done to offend them and asked if we could start over and try to get along.”
And how did her neighbors respond? They called the police on her.
The Person family tried to ignore the neighbors after that, but their actions escalated. Melinda and Kelly held a small birthday gathering for their sons’ birthday in their backyard recently. The neighbors, childishly, decided to ruin the occasion by riding their lawn mowers in circles in their backyard the entire time.
Then just this week, the couple spray painted “Trump” on two trees in their backyard that faces the Person’s home.
“I think Trump has given closeted bigots a sense of empowerment and they now feel the freedom to express their hate,” Melinda said.
She added, “Our three-year-old twins ask questions about what the signs are for. We say our neighbors aren’t very nice.”
“I’m sad that my kids have to grow up next to this hate,” Kelly added.
The moms are deciding what their next move should be to combat these homophobic neighbors. They’re considering building a fence between their yards, despite how costly it could get.
Despite their experience, the moms are still positive about their community.
“It’s unfortunate that this is the way they chose to spend their time and energy. We moved to Guilderland because Melinda grew up here and knew it to be a friendly, nice community. These neighbors are the exception, not the rule,” said Kelly.
Photo via the Person Family