A family whose activism was crucial to bringing a Pride parade to suburban Buffalo Grove were admonished by an anonymous neighbor who inferred that their frontward signage was too flamboyant. But supporters have largely pledged to double down on Pride displays locally as June approaches.
Carolyn Pinta, whose daughter Molly was instrumental in launching the Buffalo Grove parade in 2019, said that the family received an anonymous note asking them to "tone down" the LGBT-focused messaging and decorations they've had in their yard.
The Pintas received the note in their mailbox May 21. Carolyn said that she decided to go public with the note because "it would fuel the fire" for other Buffalo Grove residents to get out their Pride gear as June approaches. The village's 2020 Pride parade has been reformatted as a "drive-by" event June 7 so that residents can celebrate while still respecting social-distancing guidelines.
The anonymous note, dated May 17 and signed "a concerned Buffalo Grove neighbor," read:
"Hello and thank you for embracing the LGBTQ and gay lifestyle, we appreciate you being part of this community and being our good neighbor.
"Whereas you celebrate gay pride, we take pride in the overall appearance of our homes and neighborhood. That's why I'm asking you to please consider toning down your front yard signage and announcements.
"I'm hoping you do not see this as being out of line, I have been wanting to reach out to you on this for some time now. I also hope you agree this is a much respected community where we should all uphold the look of this upscale neighborhood."
Pinta said she and other neighbors were amused by the suggestion about their neighborhood's appearance of affluence: "Buffalo Grove has a lot of 'upscale' neighborhoods. Our neighborhood is not one of them."
The Pintas have frequently had colorful balloon displays on their lawn, as well as a Pride flag, among other paraphernalia. But theirs is not the only lawn to be decorated, Carolyn added. Many residents have signs up congratulating graduates or encouraging resolve during the pandemic.
"We just happen to have the lawn that they don't like," she said, admitting that, despite the obvious careful wording, the note came "like a punch in the gut, especially with the Pride Drive coming up. There is so little to be excited about right now."
The note may ultimately backfire, since supportive neighbors say the episode has encouraged them to decorate their yards; one resident told Carolyn: "Looks like I need some Pride stuff."
Carolyn, meanwhile, said the Pintas are only getting started decorating: "It's not even June yet."
Indeed, a Highland Park lighting designer, after learning about the letter, started preparing a rainbow exterior display for the Pinta home modeled after the White House Pride display when Barack Obama was in office.
"They're going to hate that," Carolyn said.