Here’s an idea that would make anyone beam with pride.
Memo Fachino, a 35-year-old from Racine, Wisconsin, was informed late last month by his homeowners association that he and his husband, Lance Mier, 36, were no longer allowed to fly their Pride flag — despite it hanging on their porch since 2016.
“We believe it’s important to express ourselves, and to have visible representation,” Fachino told HuffPost via email.
Fachino also explained that the flag has had a significant ripple effect. He noted that, a few years ago, he received a letter “expressing gratitude” for their flag from a neighbor who was “struggling with gender identity” at the time.
“It gave them hope that, even if they weren’t finding the acceptance they needed in their current home, they knew they would be able to find that in the community,” Fachino said.
Fachino explained in a now-viral Reddit post that due to other homeowners displaying Black Lives Matter, “Thin Blue Line” and other “opinion” flags around his neighborhood, his HOA had decided to ban any flag other than the American flag from being displayed in front of homes.
“The board did express that if we, or anyone for that matter, could come up with wording that would allow neighbors to fly opinion or political flags without controversy, that they were open to reviewing the rule,” Fachino told HuffPost. “This is, as you can imagine, not super easy, as what one considers ‘controversial’ can be quite subjective.”
Fachino said that he has no malice toward his HOA and does not “feel targeted or attacked” by the board, but the couple found having to remove their flag right before Pride month to be disappointing.
“We wanted to have a Pride display for June, and we wanted to abide by the rules,” Fachino said. “So we found a way to do both.”
Fachino said a few days after he and Mier took down their Pride flag, they had a lightbulb-over-the-head moment.
They looked through their HOA’s new rules and noticed “that removable lights are permitted without restriction.”
So Fachino and Mier decided to buy six different colored floodlights and “washed our house in Pride colors.”
“A little less subtle than our simple flag,” Fachino wrote on Reddit. “A lot more fun for anyone complaining about the flag itself and what it represents.”
Fachino added to HuffPost that he felt the lights were “cheerful, didn’t hit any other homes … and allowed us to be more expressive on our stand.”
He also said that his neighbors love the lights as well.
“A neighbor shared the story on our Facebook page, and all the comments we received have been positive and supportive,” he told HuffPost.
Fachino also noted that he and Mier “love” their neighborhood that they’ve been living in for roughly five years — and feel “fortunate” to display their Pride lights “safely.”
“We are proud to be able to do this,” Fachino told HuffPost, adding, “We recognize this privilege. We feel strongly that diversity and self-expression enhances the neighborhood and makes it a more inclusive place to live.”