Rainbow Flag Confuses Beachgoers Who Fear Only Gay People Will Be Saved From Drowning

We take it for granted that the rainbow flag is a universally recognized symbol of LGBT pride and general loving acceptance — hell, even Putin has something dumb to say about it — but the bubble is real, and we live within its iridescent convex walls.

Over the weekend, a lifeguard at Carolina Beach in North Carolina chose to add to the 4th festivities by flying a rainbow flag at lifeguard tower #37, resulting in what sounds like the plot of an episode of Parks and Recreation.

“Pretty much immediately someone complained,” lifeguard Zach Hupp told WECT. “Told one of the other lifeguards that they thought because I was flying that flag that I would only rescue gay people.”

How exactly a lifeguard would determine if a drowning swimmer was gay remains beyond our scope, but maybe it has something to do with the way in which one flails.

“I feel like with that flag, I would hope that everyone would feel welcome to come down to the beach, especially near Freeman Park which is filled with other flags that may turn some people away,” Hupp added.

But the town wasn’t having it, and went so far as to amend official policy to be more specific on which flags are permitted to fly.

And they might have a point, as lifeguard flags are used to cue people in to weather conditions. So unless there are mermen swimming near shore, the new rule sounds solid.

But that doesn’t make the confusion any less amusing.

“It wasn’t anything I was trying to go against the town, I’m honestly surprised  it became as big of a deal as it has,” Hupp said.