Man arrested for anti-LGBTQ hate crime in Boone

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Photo by Benson Kua

Robert Geddes, 25 of Boone, Iowa, was arrested Monday for allegedly leaving notes on people’s homes telling them to “burn that gay flag”. The targeted homes displayed rainbow pride flags, displayed road signs, or had rainbow doormats.

Geddes was identified by a Ring Doorbell camera. He was charged with four counts of trespassing with an increase in hate crime, which would increase the sentence, and third degree harassment.

He is now being held at the Boone County Jail and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 2.

Police issued a Press release saying, “Boone police officers have received several complaints from residents of Boone about notes that had been pasted on their doors.” The victims all had flags or doormats supporting LGBTQ people. These notes spoke only of that support and were not of a threatening nature. “

Geddes’ lawyer declined to comment.

April Burch, who received one of the messages, said it was her child who found it.

“It was overwhelming for our youngest child to find him. He was worried that this would mean someone would burn our house down, ”she said.

Burch said that although society has changed since growing up and seeing regular vandalism at the home of a local LGBTQ man, it is clear that there is still work to be done.

“People here then had the attitude that he ‘brought him to himself’ for opening a local chapter of ACT-UP and wearing dresses whenever he wanted,” she said. “They smashed his windows and painted swastikas on his property. It was horrible. That’s not to say people still aren’t harassed in Boone for being openly LGBTQ. There have been incidents of children and adolescents shouting profanity and anti-LGBTQ slurs at people on the streets in town right here in recent months. “

In view of this, Burch said she was happy that so many people came together to share the video and report the incidents so that Geddes can be arrested.

The Rainbow The pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker and set up by himself and volunteers in 1978. He did so at the suggestion of friends and colleagues in the San Francisco LGBTQ community, including our supervisor Harvey Milk. The goal was to replace the pink triangle symbol that the LGBTQ community had reclaimed from Nazi Germany.

Since then, Baker has redesigned the pride flag to make it more inclusive, and other versions of the pride flags have been created for the LGBTQ community and its many individual identities.

Baker never took sole credit for the creation of the flag.

“A real flag is not something you can really design,” he once said. “A real flag is torn from the soul of the people. A flag is something that everyone owns and that is why they work.

by Nikoel Hytrek
Posted 23/06/21

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