Hate mails asked Dr Mary Pham to keep sexuality private after the Vietnamese American put up a pride flag at the house she built in Irvine, California in June.
The single mother of three children did not back down then, and now she is standing even straighter and taller.
Pham put her Christmas lights on last week. Now her pride flag with the Italian word for ‘peace’ stood atop a two-story ‘pride house’ at nights, reports the Orange County Register.
Her best friends are gay, but many rent apartments and can’t put up pride flags, let alone lights, so she did it for them.
A friend had warned her against hanging the flag in Irvine, but she stuck by her way, according to SheWired.
‘Look, either you know what it is or you don’t,’ Pham said in response. ‘Either it’s a pride flag, or it’s just a rainbow flag. And if it’s a pride flag, and you notice, either you like it or you hate it. And if you hate it then you’re just a jerk.’
Pham’s neighbors soon sent emails to the Home Owners Association, calling it a ‘fag flag’. One left a flyer of ‘GOD HATES FLAGS’ on the windshield of Pham’s business partner’s car – a play on the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church’s ‘God hates fags’.
LGBTI people are said to be the second-most targeted in terms of hate crimes and hate incidents, after the black community there.
But still, Pham is doing her job to bring more diversity to the neighborhood – one which is ‘a pretty good place to live’ after all.
Such is the upbringing of the Pham family that even her straight son goes to gay bars with her friends.
And as Pham talked with the Register, a neighbor walked by with her dog in front of the lights.
‘I love the decoration on your house,’ she said to Pham.