Killearn HOA asks couple to take down their Pride flag. Now neighbors are flying them, too
"This is a human rights issue — not a political one."

Article Courtesy of  The Tallahassee Democrat

By Christopher Cann

Published July 7, 2021


Josh Carpenter moved to Killearn Estates with husband Brendon Guilliams in April.

He loved the charming neighborhood, filled with kind neighbors and wonderful greenery.

Ahead of Pride month, Carpenter hung up a Progressive Rainbow Pride Flag, which replaced the classic rainbow design last year, notably adding a black and brown stripe as well as the transgender stripes.

Within a week, the couple was approached by a representative of the Killearn Homes Association, who asked them to take the flag down.

"It was chilling to say the least," Carpenter said. "I felt unwelcome."
Brendon Guilliams, left, and Josh Carpenter, right, in Tennessee. The married couple were asked to take their Pride flag down by Killearn Homes Association.

The couple complied with the request, leading a neighbor, 78-year-old Patricia Curtis, who noticed the missing flag, to inquire. When Curtis heard what happened, she decided to fly her own Pride flag "in solidarity." She soon recruited four neighbors to do the same.

"No rainbows for Killearn Estates, despite the rain," wrote Curtis on Facebook.

"We didn't expect in 1,000 years for any neighbors to get involved and challenge the homeowners association on this," Carpenter said. "It's been wonderful to see that we do have support and do have friends."

In a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, a spokesperson from the homeowners association said "this topic" will be discussed in a July board meeting.

"We respect the views of all our homeowners and renters and are welcoming of all in our community," the statement read. "We want Killearn Estates residents to feel comfortable presenting issues such as this before the Board and Killearn Homes Association staff."

A longtime Killearn Estates resident installs a Pride flag in protest of the HOA's decision to request its removal on a neighbors property.

The homeowners association allegedly cited a sign ordinance in its declaration of covenants, which every homeowner and renter in the neighborhood agrees to follow.

The covenant in question does not permit any "signs" unless they are advertising a property for sale or rent. The word "flag" is not written in the more than 20-page covenant.

Janelle Edwards, who lives directly across the street from the couple, said she felt "relieved" when they installed their Progressive Rainbow Pride Flag.

"I have never seen that flag in this neighborhood," she said. "I really enjoyed seeing it every morning."

Soon after the couple took the flag down, 38-year-old Edwards joined Curtis, and put up the same flag in her window.

Killearn Estates resident hangs Pride flag in her window in protest of the HOA's decision to request that her neighbors remove their Pride flag.

"It just made me feel safe as a young Black person," Edwards said. "So I wanted to just support."

Neither Edwards nor Curtis have been approached by the homeowners association about their flags, which have been in plain sight for over two weeks.

The association encourages residents to attend the July 13 board meeting, said a spokesperson for Killearn Homes Association.

"This is not something I would have ever expected to happen in our little neighborhood," said Curtis, who has been living in her Tree Harbour Way home for 22 years. "For those of us who put up the flags, this is a human rights issue — not a political one."