On a bridge in Alcoa, Tennessee, known to the community as a place to express themselves through art, two teenage girls who are dating decided to paint Pride flags in honor of Pride Month—June in the United States.
A series of videos on Instagram showed a woman berating the girls, Jasmine Martinez and Carmen McClain, with homophobic and racist rhetoric while spray painting over the flags, all the while touting her Christian faith.
The woman accused the girls of not paying taxes and being immigrants who shouldn't be in the United States.
The girls instantly started filming the woman, but that didn't stop her from her bigotry.
"I'm coming over here to paint over your sh*t."
As she began spray painting, she said:
"I have just as much right as you. Actually, I have more damn right."
"You know why? Because I work. I pay taxes. I'm an American."
The woman also made comments claiming they are just trying to "stand out" and "y'all ain't even different anymore."
Even though she claimed she didn't "give a sh*t" about who they were, she asked a lot of questions of them, like where they go to school or if they pay taxes.
After sarcastic remarks of disbelief over the girls relationship, she told them:
"Be proud to be a fricking American."
So one of them pointed out the blatant irony of what she was saying.
"This is what happens to us in America."
Raising her voice slightly, the woman sharply snapped back:
"Then go somewhere else."
"Then guess what will happen to you, you'll get shot."
"Did you know that? They kill each other. They kill each other in their own communities."
The woman went on in another video about taxes for quite some time. She even made a racist remark about the citizenship status again:
"Once you're educated enough, and know, and been a citizen, and been in the area and worked..."
The woman also made several contradictory remarks about wanting them to put something there that represents all Americans but a the same time wanting to promote Christian beliefs and faith.
She claimed she would paint an American flag across the Pride flag because she doesn't think it should be about "separating" our country.
However, her final product was definitely not an American flag.
Several Instagram posts on Martinez's page showed the wall was covered multiple times with phrases like "pray for our country" and "proud to be an American."
There were also instances of the homophobic f-slur painted on the bridge.
In an interview with WBIR, the girls explained how they were feeling about the incident.
"In my entire life, I had never heard anyone say things like that to me."
"I was just sad. Like, it broke my heart that someone could have so much hate for just two teenage girls."
Martinez and McClain received a lot of support online.
Not only was the support online, there were also plenty of people showing up in person.
Several people from the community have been coming on a regular basis to paint the wall and celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride in their community.
WBIR reported there are even people standing in front of the bridge at night to make sure it isn't painted over again by bigots like the woman in the videos.
The latest posts of the wall show "Love is Love" still stands.