Ogden man spearheads effort to fly pride flags after torching
OGDEN — In response to the torching this week of a pride flag outside an Ogden home, Kevin Lundell has launched an effort to fly 20 rainbow flags in the neighborhood where the incident occurred as a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
“You can burn one flag down, (but) there are going to be 20 in its place,” he said.
His effort is meant in part as a show of support for Taylor Knuth and Sean Bishop, who live in the home where the flag that was torched had been flying. But Lundell is also hoping to send a broader message.
“The LGBTQ community is still a target of hate, violence and intimidation. That’s not OK,” said Lundell, who’s acquainted with Knuth and Bishop.
Project Rainbow, a nonprofit organization that stakes pride flags around Utah during Utah Pride Week and on other occasions, is providing use of the 20 flags for free, Lundell said. He hopes to place them around the east-central Ogden home of Knuth and Bishop over the weekend.
Angela Choberka, a member of the Ogden City Council, is supportive of Lundell’s effort. “We don’t want anybody to feel they’re unsafe in our community,” she said.
Lucas Horns, director of Project Rainbow, said the burning of the flag that was hanging outside the Knuth and Bishop home isn’t a first. Typically, 10% of the flags the group puts up are stolen, burned or vandalized in some form, he said, “so it’s pretty common, unfortunately.”
He suspects most attacks on pride banners are not directed at their owners, but rather are “just about the flag.” In his view, Horns said, the flag is meant to underscore the importance of including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in the broader community. Some, though, see the flag as divisive, exclusionary of the straight and cisgender community, he said.
“There’s a misunderstanding of what it’s supposed to symbolize,” Horns said.
Though Project Rainbow’s largest flag campaign occurs during Utah Pride Week in the first week of June, it’s not the only time it gets into action. The group is in the midst of placing some 1,200 transgender flags around the state in connection with Transgender Day of Remembrance — held annually on Nov. 20, which this year falls on Saturday — meant to honor transgender people killed in anti-transgender violence.
The burning of the flag outside the home of Knuth and Bishop, who are active in local civic affairs, occurred sometime Tuesday evening, Knuth suspects. Ogden police are investigating.