Northern Ireland woman gets homophobic hate mail over daughter's rainbow flag in window
A former Co Down mayor has described his "anger and sadness" at homophobic hate mail being posted to the mother of a child who flew the rainbow flag in her window.
The Co Down Spectator reports the Bangor mother received an anonymous note after the flag - associated with the LGBT+ Pride movement - was flown in her daughter's bedroom window.
The note reads: "Those of us - 98% - who are NORMAL do not have a 'need' to fly a rag from our windows".
Speaking anonymously to the Spectator, the woman said her daughter had flow the flag in her window alongside a Women's Suffrage flag, and had originally posted it after a Pride event last year.
The Bangor mother said the reaction to the story had been positive, with people reaching out through social media to offer their support after she shared the story in a Facebook post.
Reacting to the story on Twitter, former mayor of North Down Council (which was later assimilated into Ards and North Down Council) Andrew Muir said he was feeling a "mixture of anger and sadness" at reading the story.
In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, he said: "Events such like this merely re-emphasise need for everyone in political life to stand up for equality, diversity and against both discrimination and hate.
"Representing all the colours of the rainbow, the Pride Flag is a positive vibrant celebration of diversity. Display of the Pride Flag reflects an open, diverse, outward looking society and should never result in such a hateful note.
"Like many others I am looking forward to Belfast Pride as both a positive celebration of diversity and call for equality.
"I hope that this proves to be an isolated incident within a Borough that I am proud to call home where the overwhelming majority of people in Ards and North Down are warm, welcoming, inclusive, and accepting of people regardless of sexuality."
Councillor Andrew Muir became Northern Ireland's first openly gay mayor when he took up his position in 2013.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph in 2014, Mr Muir said he remembered walking through the streets of Londonderry in 1996 and having "rocks thrown at me and homophobic abuse hurled at me", and his election as mayor had been a "massive sign of progress and change".
Belfast Telegraph Digital