It's not an LGBT Flag. it's a Rainbow Italian Peace flag, Lam would rather submit to Yellow Journalism, rather than do some basic research.
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Irvine's Orangetree neighborhood is a Don Bren wet dream: beige-ish, single-family homes set on maze-like streets kept spic-and-span by an HOA, with the biggest controversy usually being how much more tranquil the sleepy place can get. At least, that was until Dr. Mary Pham added color by hanging an LGBT Pride Flag prominently above her two-story house in early June. And that's all that was needed to turn life in the area into yet another Blue Velvet-esque tale of suburbia's seedy underside, unmasked.
"Within a month of hanging [the flag], someone sent an email to the homeowners' association complaining about a 'fag flag,'" Pham says. "They said that it was 'an eyesore,' but it's a rainbow. It's beautiful."
The flag has made Pham a target, drawing angry emails and threatening notes, which are taped to her door and left under the windshield wipers of her housemate's car. But rather than back down, the attention has only strengthened Pham's resolve.
"I'm angry that these adults feel this way," she says. "Okay, they hate me; that's fine. But to hate an entire group? That's wrong. The way these people are thinking, they're in the Stone Age."
Pham's not a complete stranger to the spotlight. A Vietnamese American chiropractic doctor who came to the United States following the fall of Saigon, Pham has three (mostly) adult children and used to host a daytime talk-radio program on KUCI-FM 88.9 that attempted to shatter stereotypes about living behind the Orange Curtain. In a June 2012 edition of her show, Pham said that, though she often does not speak highly of Irvine, it was ultimately "a pretty good place to live."
She first flew the flag following a ceremony with friends in June. "It took me a long time to find my flag to hang, so when I did, [my friend] Ramon and I decided that we should do a fun ceremonial event," she says. "Most of my friends here in Orange County rent rooms, so they do not have the luxury of hanging anything. . . . We all decided that [my flag] was pride for all of us—that's why it was a big event. We invited all of our friends of all colors to come to share."
The flag prominently hung from one of the tallest structures in Orangetree. It immediately drew attention, with initial complaints first directed to the neighborhood's property-management company, PowerStone Property Management.
"On a separate matter, have HOA members contacted PowerStone re: Kurt's [Killian, Pham's housemate] 'Fag Flag?'" reads a June 4 email obtained by the Weekly sent by a resident. "Is the GAY PRIDE [capitalized and in rainbow colors] display protected by free speech rights? The Orangetree Patio Homes neighbors are shaking their heads in disgust. Sexuality is private, and Kurt's display is very, very public. It's even visible from the tennis courts."
The reply from community manager Amanda McGinley reads, "We have not had any calls yet about the flag on the home. . . . But I did see it on the property inspection and contacted legal counsel to see if the HOA can do anything about it. Civil Code does provide protection for homeowners to put up flags, banners and noncommercial signs, and the Association can do nothing to prohibit it. I have a feeling that this will not last long, but I could be wrong."
McGinley was wrong. Pham continued to fly the flag, drawing more complaints and the ire of more Irvinites. Dave Adams, the board president of Orangetree's HOA, added a discussion about the hanging of flags to the July meeting agenda, according to Killian.
"[The residents] . . . have had their 'gay pride' flag up for six to eight weeks," reads another resident's email, dated July 11. "The flag has two wedding rings interlocked and many rainbow-colored stripes. It is an eyesore.
"In my opinion, it is okay to feel strongely [sic] about a cause," the email continues. "But to leave their 'political statement' up for this long is ridiculous, and I am offended. Most people do not choose the gay lifestyle, and personally, it irritates me to have to be reminded every day of two men having sex with each other. It's not a fun thing to look at as I come and go every day. If someone left their sign up regarding an election for more than a week or two, it would get very old and be an eyesore."
However, during the meeting, the item was ignored. In Irvine, municipal code offers protections for the display of flags and banners. "No person shall interfere with the exercise of free speech rights by persons within areas open to the general public in shopping centers, apartment complexes, and other private or public property open to the general public," reads the relevant law.
Pham contacted the Center OC about the emails, and the Center relayed the information to the Irvine Police Department, who sent Lieutenant Bill Whalen to take a report, dated Nov. 17.
"Lieutenant Whalen contacted a homeowner because the Department received some secondhand information that there had been a possible hate crime," said department spokesperson Lieutenant Julia Engen. "After speaking with the homeowner, he learned that the information we received was not accurate and the incident was not in fact a crime. No threats were directed at the homeowner. Lieutenant Whalen documented the facts as relayed to him by the homeowner in an incident report."
Immediately after Whalen's visit, however, the complaints became much more direct. Someone taped a press release by Westboro Baptist Church to the house's door that read, in part, "We've turned America over to the fags; [soldiers are] coming home in body bags." At approximately the same time, someone also placed a note that says, "God Hates Flags"—a play on Westboro's infamous "God Hates Fags" slogan—on Killian's car.
Not all feedback about the flag has been negative, however. When Pham briefly took the flag down in July to fix its mount, someone left another anonymous note at the house, this time urging Pham to put the flag back up. One side shows a picture of the flag drawn in colored pencil; the other contains the lyrics of Seattle hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Same Love," a pro-LGBT anthem that garnered wide radio play. The note concludes, "Please put your flag back up."
Today, the Pride Flag flies brighter and more securely than before. After reinforcing the mount, Pham put up a new flag because the former one had begun to fade. She hopes the attention she's getting can be used as a teaching moment. "We're going to be meeting with some people and attempting to start up a coalition," she says. "We're going to approach the city and try to raise awareness, to try to get a talk going.
"Everywhere else, people are aware of everything," Pham continues. "Now it's time to raise awareness here."
It's not an LGBT Flag. it's a Rainbow Italian Peace flag, Lam would rather submit to Yellow Journalism, rather than do some basic research.
CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHY THESE CHRISTIANS HATE OUR SOLDIERS? ... Westboro Baptist Church : "We've turned America over to the fags; [soldiers are] coming home in body bags." Westboro's infamous "God Hates Fags" slogan
McPhee, why are you obsessing about a lone "fag flag" flying in Irvine, or Santa Ana for that matter? Get the fuck over it. If it doesn't pick your pocket, nor break your nose, it's none of your fucking business. Just ask Thomas Jeffeson! Hahahahahaha!
@jamiepizza99 I really feel sorry for you. The fact that you respond so frequently in gest to judge someone that you really do not know expresses the fact that you not only quick to group all Vietnamese in one lump sum, but also depicts that you're projecting so many feelings of yourself on her. Irvine has houses that are all cookie cutter in portrayal (i.e.: more frequently newer communities such as Woodbury, Stonegate, Portola Springs, and now even, Crystal Springs Village). The rest of the world doesn't live this way and has a wide range of diverse exterior housing appearances. If the inside of our house is completely acceptable to be different, do we not as home owners get to express the exterior of our homes in the same mannerism? Never did it say in HOA that we could not fly flags, dispay banners on the exterior of our homes. Just as we have every right to display an American, Californian, or even a ethnic flag, what makes it any different to fly a flag of our sexuality? As stated in the note directed towards Pham where the flag is an "eyesore", it's only an eyesore if it's looked at! We all have a choice and the answer really is simple: Turn your head away.
Irvine has always been known for being in such a range of high socioeconomic status enthusiasts to the point that it makes us completely ignorant and unaware of the world's surrounding us. It's blinding at times, and I say this, having lived in Irvine myself. I really commend Pham for having the audacity to break not only the social norm, but a cultural barrier that dictates that Asians (and perhaps even females) are to be subdued, reserved, and quiet. Change in a positive direction has historically always brought about a wave of resentment and uproar before tolerance and acceptance has come into play. She simply is the forefront player in starting a wave of change in a quickly known city of being culturally ignorant and almost to the extent, fake. She is so brave for fighting a strong battle of hate and anger in a segment of a city that is an anomaly to the rest of California at large.
In your comment where she is just a GI baby seeking attention, refuses to live in Garden Grove and perhaps even insinuating that she is uneducated, take a closer look in the article of her accomplishments. If actions speak louder than words, it must indeed do so with her. She was previously owner of a talk show, has raised three children of her own, and has a doctorate degree. The calling for a mother is perhaps the most sacrificial calling in the world, and efforts to raise three children cannot just be simply discounted as seeking any sort of attention. If you also take a closer look at the angle of the picture, much of it is the way the picture was taken.
Don't judge others before you've taken a step in their shoes.
I always thought the worst sentence I could get was to be sentenced to live in a place like that. Sadly they are not exclusive to the O.C.
... let her complain. She is just making herself look bad to the world and anyone else out there that is intolerant.
Ironic since no less than 58 people who have commented on this story have projected themselves to be superior to someone, many of them to an entire city of 230k people.
Am I the only one to notice this? But that is not even a gay flag! It is the Italian PEACE flag and has nothing to do with homosexuality. The gay flag has different colors and doesn't say PACE (Italian for "peace") on it. Kind of comical that so many hillbillies are up in arms about something they only THINK is "queer"! (Hey, don't tell the pope or any macho Italians our rednecks think their flag is gay. Could spell trouble!)
Anyway, irony of ironies, sounds like this community could really use a PEACE flag to remind everyone to live and let live...
Frankly, who cares what kind of flag they fly on their own property? With the country going down the tube and government in shambles, we have bigger problems to deal with.
Cant stand what the flag stands for but come on now eye soar??Its a rainbow,if it were raining you would love seeing one!Eye soar..lmao
I don't actuality, I guess I view a flag to signify ones sexual preference just seems a little different and not needed than a UCI flag or what have you. I promise not to hang my straight flag, as I don't need a flag to promote that to my neighborhood. It's my opinion ....
Jace Nuzback and Shannon tiare commented on my post. I can't find ur posts. Curious how am I a bad christian or a horrible person cuz I'm fine if fag flag is my neighbor. I wouldn't treat a black or white trash person with disrespect being my neighbor. I'm sayn if people choose to live n the OC keep n mind most of society n OC r racist and judgemental. Sad but its fact. Look at how u've made judgement of me.
What two people do because it's who they find love with is totallyup to them. frankly, I'm more weirded out by my "Heterosexual" buddies who meet someone and then can't help but say out loud within about twenty seconds.."Well, so this ones' gay, but he/she seems nice." It's a weirder to me that a straight person should immediately start to picture what it is some new acquaintance does with their dick for fun than the idea that someone might find love differently than do I......
Why would anyone work all their lives and then move to a Planned Communist Community and sign away all their Rights is beyond me :/
I understand it technically OK in that HOA, but everyone on here complaining about freedoms, etc..well, that is what HOAs are for, to keep things in order. You will always have some people who don't even read the bylaws and report things that are within the limits. I know where I live you are not allowed flags no matter what they read. Every neighborhood is different.
I am currently not allowed flags. If I want one, it has to be approved by everyone. Every HOA has different fees. No worries @Tanisha ;) When you pay dues for your neighborhood to look nice you will understand.
What's confusing me is that this flag is not even the six color rainbow Pride flag (red on top). It's the seven color (red on bottom) Italian Peace flag, which is why it says "pace" on it. It was used in the 60s to protest nuclear weapons.
Well Danny, the reason why gay ppl show their pride, is because it is looked down upon in society to be gay. Its a way to stand up for their rights they have and want like the rest of us
@not02Tell that to the homophobic neighbors...
@tradewindsandmaitaisIt's weird and not entirely easy to follow, but this is bascially how WBC puts it: Our culture allows homosexuality, so God is punishing all of us for perpetuating that "sin" by punishing us in every possible way. Every time a soldier or small child dies or there's a mass shooting or natural disaster -- that is, every time a beloved or innocent victim makes the news -- WBC will point out that it's part of our punishment for not making all those people stop being gay.
@Owl3571-1317 ummm well she's a total loser, bottomline, the picture of her is self explanatory...she wants to be White...she obviously has a Love/Hate feeling for the Alpha Whites. she's not even gay, she's just a biiter angry woman because she tries so hard to get attention but it doesn't work...of course it wont work! this is Southern California, Women are Hot here, no way some half breed over 50 with thin dyed blond hair, a padded bra, sucks in her gut, chest popped forward is going to get attention in Southern California.. but she obviously thinks High of herself...but We see a total idiot who hates inner city people but also Hates Conservatives who want to raise their families in peace.. one thing that makes me smile is knowing behind her smile is a woman burning with hate that she's not White.. she's just another O.C. local that hates what she' sees around her...just like the writer Gustavo.. what makes no sense everything they stand for is in the north called L.A. but noway in hell will you see them live there, they actually want to be around more Whites because likely it's safer but once their here, they hate what they see.
As an Irvine resident, I think you're painting all 230K of us with a broad brush. Who are you to assume that nobody in my entire city agrees with ANY of the comments on this article? (or, for that matter, that nobody else who commented is from Irvine?) Come on, it's a university town fer goodness' sakes!
I approve Pham's flag and disapprove of those leaving nastygrams.
My neighbors on both sides are very conservative Christians, but we still get along fine. They even offered to help me put up my rainbow Christmas lights. I'm sure they don't approve, but they're Christian enough to remember "Love Thy Neighbor."
I see you don't ignore Yellow Journalism. That's not an LGBT flag. It's an Italian Peace Flag.
Even a little basic research once in a while could go a long way.
@ltparTell that to your fellow Irvinites....
Where does it say Dr. Pham is actually gay? The rainbow flag is meant to be a symbol of tolerance and acceptance. It has been adopted by the LGBT community for that reason, because that is what they want to achieve. The flag is not a symbol saying "I'm gay" or anything of the kind. What the people flying this flag really want is to be able to take it down because it simply isn't needed any more. Still a long way to go before humanity eliminates rid of bigotry and hatred.
@jamiepizza99 Also, looking at your posts on other articles, it is clear that your issues stem less from lack of education and more from a purely hateful spirit. That kind of spirit doesn't belong in the modern world so I can't stress how much I think you need to do some soul searching.
@jamiepizza99I honestly am disgusted by your clearly racist agenda within this forum. If anyone doesn't belong in this county or even this state, it is you. I am African America, Asian, and Australian. I don't live in South OC because I "want to be around white people." I live here because my family has money and living 5 minutes from the beach is a luxury we can afford. Irvine is the safest city in America, and could it be that this woman chose to live there because it is an amazing community? There's no hate involved here except the racism you are proliferating. Also, why are you trying to dictate what people of certain races can wear? Nothing about her outfit says that she wants to be white. In fact, she is dressed in the plainest way possible so if I guess you must be implying that white people dress plainly all the time. Yeah as if.... Anyway you really need to educate yourself. Like seriously go take a class or two. If the way we live harmoniously with different races here in America troubles you, I urge you to go move somewhere secluded so that you can escape progress and the rest of the world wont have to bother with your type.