Brooke Hackett says she will not take down pride flags or signs in front of her home even though the neighborhood homeowners association is demanding that she does so in the wake of a complaint from a neighbor. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Brooke Hackett’s 6-year-old was curious when he found a collection of Pride flags in her office.

Hackett explained what each one meant. They found a few he identified with and brought them home. Her child, who is gender nonconforming and identifies as trans, put them in their front yard in the Homestead Farms neighborhood in Falmouth.

Hackett didn’t expect anyone to have an issue with them.

But within hours, she received a voicemail from a man who said he lived in the neighborhood.

“I was just hoping you wouldn’t be able to put those gay flags up there in the neighborhood,” said the man, who used a spoofed name and number. “That’s fine, you can believe what you want to believe and have your son believe in gay people and maybe even be gay himself. But maybe if you could just keep that stuff to yourself, we would greatly appreciate it in the neighborhood.”

Initially scared by the call but ultimately undeterred, Hackett purchased Pride yard signs the Falmouth Elementary School PTO was selling, as did other families in the neighborhood, and put them up in her yard.


Then, after apparently receiving complaints, the homeowner’s association came calling.

Under the association’s rules, which govern the appearances of the homes, how the properties are maintained and the activities that are allowed, residents are not permitted to hang or display anything – signs, laundry, awnings, or canopies – through their windows or on the sides of their homes. The rule does not apply to the American flag because it is illegal under the federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 for a homeowners association to restrict owners from displaying one. For-sale signs also are allowed.

The association sent homeowners an email last week reminding them about the rule and notified them they have until July 1 to remove anything that violates the regulation.

It’s the first time Hackett has seen the rule enforced since she moved into the newly built neighborhood in 2021.

“What hit us hard is that this was never a thing. It’s never been enforced until now,” she said. She does not plan to remove her signs, even if that means she will be fined.

A representative of Foreside Management, which manages the homeowners association, referred questions to the board of directors. The board did not respond to written questions on Friday.


Brooke Hackett, left, with her friends Liza and Michael d’Hemecourt, who organized a pride parade for their Falmouth neighborhood after the HOA demanded Hackett take down her pride flags. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The request to remove the flags comes during Pride month and at a time when LGBTQ+ rights are under attack across the country. More than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state legislatures this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. There have been highly visible criticism of businesses, including Anheuser-Busch and Target, for supporting the LGBTQ+ community. People have protested against Pride Month events, drag shows, and Pride flag displays.

The email to take down Pride signs in the Falmouth neighborhood is disheartening for Liza d’Hemecourt, who helped sell the Pride signs for the school PTO and is the mother of a trans child.

“The timing of this was undeniable and discriminatory,” she said. “This can’t be happening in our community. We all belong here.”

Hackett said she was “really scared and alarmed” when she received that anonymous voicemail because she was home alone and had no idea if the person was watching her. She still doesn’t know who made the call or how they got her cellphone number.

“It feels a lot like we’re letting hate win,” she said.

But Hackett and others in the neighborhood with Pride signs also have received tremendous support, she said. On Wednesday night, around 30 adults and children carrying rainbow flags and signs put on their own Pride parade through the neighborhood in a show of solidarity. They also wanted to show their presence as LGBTQ+ affirming community members, d’Hemecourt said.

Residents of the Homestead Farms neighborhood in Falmouth organized a Pride parade to support Brooke Hackett’s decision to put up Pride flags and signs in her yard after the HOA told her to remove them. Photo courtesy Brooke Hackett

“The support that is there is really, really big and really great. Kids ran out of their home to join the parade,” Hackett said.

Hackett, a licensed clinical social worker at the Family Center of Maine, would like to see the neighborhood’s rules changed to allow Pride flags because they send an important message, including to her child.

“He still receives messages that how he’s feeling is not real and is just a phase,” Hackett said. “The flags are an acknowledgment that how he’s feeling is real. He gets really excited when he sees more flags and more support.”

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