WXXI AM News

Vandals Set Fire to LGBT Flag in North Winton Village Area

Nov 9, 2016

Police are investigating the burning of a gay pride flag, after a resident in the North Winton Village area discovered its charred remains on his front porch.

The burned rainbow flag was found just after 5:00 p.m. on Election Day, when Greg Ventura returned home from dinner. He said it’s clear someone was making a statement.

A rainbow flag at an Atlantic Ave. home in Rochester was burned on Election Day.
Credit PROVIDED PHOTO

“There were heated temperaments due to the election happening so I did make the tie later on that possibly the election was the reason,” said Ventura.

Ventura, who lives at the house with a roommate, called the incident a “targeted hate crime.”

“It just made me disappointed. I thought I lived in a very accepting area of Rochester and I just couldn’t believe that this happened in the downtown region,” Ventura said.

The flag burning happened at a time when many are wondering what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for the LGBT community. Members especially leaned on each other for support Wednesday, a day after surprising election results, according to Scott Fearing, executive director of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley.

He said in recent years, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have seen the lifting of many barriers that prevented them from living open and honest lives. Now, they are afraid those advancements will be rolled back.

“What I’m hearing from folks is a fear about physical safety. So we’re encouraging people if they feel like they’re bullied, picked upon or harassed, to work with us or call the local police,” Fearing said.

When Ventura reported Tuesday’s incident he learned the situation could have been much worse.

“The firemen pointed out how quickly my vinyl siding could have gone up in flames and the house could have caught fire much easily than I even knew,” he said. 

The charred remains of a gay pride flag lay on top of a hand railing after it was burned.
Credit PROVIDED PHOTO

Ventura has no immediate plans to replace the flag, but has considered installing security cameras outside the house.

Rochester Police say they are investigating a second incident that also happened on November 9th, on Marion Street.

Authorities say they are investigating both incidents as arson investigation and they are working with the Gay Alliance as part of the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 423-9300

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