A queer family in Massachusetts have received an outpouring of support from their local community after being targeted with a hateful, anti-LGBT+ Christmas card.
Melissa Sheehan and her wife Kelly live with their two children in the town of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and have become locally known for the flags and signs that decorate the front of their house.
They regularly decorate their yard with LGBT+ Pride flags, trans Pride flags and Black Lives Matter flags, and during the 2020 US election they displayed signs like “Any Functioning Adult 2020”, and “Collin Sheehan For President”, referencing their 14-year-old son.
But on 23 December, the Sheehans received an anonymous Christmas card full of anti-LGBT+ hate.
It read: “Sheehans – I drive by regularly and wanted to drop you a note about your signs and flags.
“I love your = and Pride flag but if you are = why do you have to put it in everyones face? Seems you want to be special.
“Any functioning adult??? How did that work out for you? Record inflation, record illegals crossing, record debt, record low favorability rating for Joe the rapist even with a media that kisses his… you fill in the blank.
“I don’t understand you people you would believe CNN, MSNBC, Rachel Maddow if they told you the sky was red. Just remember… you wanted this.”
The note was simply signed: “Your unequal neighbour.”
Melissa Sheehan told MassLive: “As I’m reading the note, I really wasn’t angered. It was more laughing just out of the closed-mindedness of individuals.”
But when the Sheehans shared the Christmas card to Facebook, their local community was outraged over how the queer couple had been treated.
They received an outpouring of love and support, and one neighbour and friend, Renee Considine, asked if she could post about the card to raise money for the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention charity for LGBT+ youth.
On her fundraising page, Considine wrote: “What the author must not have known is that Melissa and Kelly are often the first people everyone calls when they need something.
“That’s because they will stop whatever they are doing to help anyone they can. They offer donations, time, energy, resources, care and love to anyone who may need it. They give love and support to our community and surrounding areas.
“The other thing the author clearly doesn’t know is that our community, the LGBTQ community and its allies, take every opportunity to [turn] hate into love.”
She added: “We are going to do our part to educate and support the youth in our community and across the country so they are not discriminated against and this behaviour, intolerance and homophobia is something the next generation does not have to endure.”
So far, the page has raised $1,400, almost three times Considine’s original goal.
“If anything, we can turn some of the hate in this into some donations for the Trevor Project. It’s kind of a win-win for everybody,” Melissa Sheehan said. “It’s pretty nice to have such a good friend and ally living right next door.”