Anti-gay activists oppose rainbow flag at Tennessee university
MURFREESBORO -- A pride flag that emulates the American flag's stripes and stars has created a controversy at Middle Tennessee State University. According to the student LGBTQ group MT Lambda president Joshua Rigsby;
"It's really caught us by surprise that this flag has caused so much controversy, because in essence it's not an American flag, it's symbolic of that."
The flag is being displayed as part of an exhibit celebrating MT Lambda's 25 years on the MTSU campus and commemorating October as LGBT History Month and according to Rigsby.
A university spokesperson confirmed to LGBTQ Nation Monday that the Dean's office received several complaints about the flag three days after the display went up. The university had given permission for the exhibit in previous years, which had included the flag, but the school sought out legal counsel from the Tennessee state's attorney general's office to confirm that the pride flag didn't break any laws.
"Their advice to us, since they [MT Lambda] are a registered student organization, and that this is constitutionally protected free speech, that their right of expression is protected," university spokesman Andrew Oppmann said.
The display has caused consternation and opposition from the local community with some telling Nashville television station WTVF that the rainbow stripes amounted to a desecration of the American flag.
"This is just un-American and against the law," wrote one WTVF viewer in an email to the Nashville TV station. "They removed the red white and blue and replaced with rainbow."
Rigsby disagreed and pointed out that the group has marched with this flag in the annual homecoming parade for several years.
"Desecrating an American flag would entail ripping, or shredding, or burning an actual 13-red-and-white-stripe American flag," said Rigsby. "And that's not what this is."
Transgender Student Crowned Homecoming King
CONCORD -- A 17-year-old transgender high school senior was named homecoming king in New Hampshire. The Concord High School Tide Pride, a club for LGBT students, nominated Ray Ramsey who was crowned Concord High’s homecoming king last weekend. According to the Concord Monitor, after he was crowned amid the cheers from the crowd and hugs from friends, he walked over to his dad who grabbed him by the shoulders, looked him in the eye and said, “I am so proud of you.”
“I just lost it,” he told the paper after winning and becoming the first transgender student to be elected homecoming king at the school.
“He’s just been through a lot, and he’s just a really strong person,” said Anna Robert, the homecoming queen and Ramsey’s good friend. “When I heard his name called, I was like, ‘I can’t even believe it,’ you know?”
Ramsey admitted to friends and family that he liked girls in the eighth grade and then came out as transgender during his junior year. He also recalled telling a friend in kindergarten he dressed as a boy because he was a “boy-girl.”
“I don’t know why, but I remember saying that, and thinking back now it’s an accurate description,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said he’s always found a welcoming environment at home and in school. When he first decided he wanted to be called Ray, he was nervous about telling his parents. Instead of telling them face to face, he wrote his dad a note and left it by the coffee pot one morning. Shortly after, his father broached the subject.
His dad told him he was okay with Ramsey’s decision and would take him to the doctor and support him in any way possible. Ramsey began talking with his doctors about surgical options last fall. Right now he is still physically a girl, but he plans on going through hormone treatments and possible gender reassignment surgery in the future.
“He doesn’t fear any of the repercussions of being completely who he is, and that’s one of the most inspirational things about him,” Robert told the Monitor.