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Neighbors rally to replace stolen Pride flag in Lakewood

Lakewood Pride flag stolen
Posted at 10:30 PM, Jul 12, 2021

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A simple note turned a negative experience into a noteworthy show of neighborly love in Lakewood.

“We've been flying our flag for four years. We've never gotten any type of feedback or anything like that,” Cory Moutrie said.

Last week when Moutrie returned home from work, his pride flag with an additional black and brown stripe was missing from his porch.

“It dawned on me like two days before that happened somebody drove by our house and hollered out ‘racists.’ The only reason that I could think that somebody would say that is because there was the black and brown stripe incorporated into the flag,” Moutrie said. “It's the representation of everybody, so for somebody to just steal that flag, it tells me something about that flag or that movement bothered them.”

So when Moutrie posted on a Lakewood community Facebook page telling neighbors to keep their eyes peeled, he could’ve never anticipated what would happen just days later.

“I went to work. I did everything I normally do and I came home one day and check my porch and there was a package there. It had a note attached and I saw the flag and I was like, ‘Oh my God. Somebody replaced the flag.’ The note was very heartfelt and honestly, it made me very happy that somebody saw it and somebody did the right thing,” Moutrie said.

Moutrie still isn’t positive which neighbors gifted the new flag.

“It wasn't about whoever did it. It wasn't about that. It wasn't about the flag. It was that somebody saw something wrong and did the right thing regardless of being acknowledged,” Moutrie said. “My flag isn't something I'm flying to just shout out to the world, ‘Hey, I’m LGBT. I'm gay.’ No, I want to incorporate all of the social movements that are happening around the world.”

He said despite someone taking a flag that didn’t belong to them, no one will ever be able to steal the gratitude he feels for living in a community that still cares.

“We all matter and we all should be a part of mattering for each other. I think this was really great that our neighbors did this. I think we need that more now than ever in this world because of the climate of everything that's going on around us,” Moutrie said. “I think when you see this flag or any type of rainbow flag, it should be known that basically everybody, and no matter if you're straight or whatnot, it doesn't matter. It's a safe haven for everybody.”