NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Neighbors in Naugatuck are turning an act of hate into a bigger act of love and support.

About two weeks ago, Chris Ritton-Stokes, who shares a home with his husband and little girl, became the target of hate when someone drove by and yelled a homophobic slur at him.

It hurt.

“I felt like I was 12 years old again,” Ritton-Stokes said. “I was back in high school, back in middle school being bullied.”

Ritton-Stokes wrote about the incident on Facebook. What happened next surprised, shocked, and touched him. His neighbors banded together and started flying Pride flags on their homes. Then, more and more people on other streets did, too.

Josh Dufresne started the effort.

“I live in a nice neighborhood and I wanted to send a message to them,” he said.

That message was similar to one written on one of the Pride flags now hanging in Naugatuck: “love triumphs over hate”.

“For them to rally behind us and show that they’re not going to tolerate that either was a huge thing for us,” Ritton-Stokes said. “To have the entire community come out and support us is amazing…..There could be a little LGBTQ kid that walks down our street and sees this as a safe place — that there are people out there that are loving, accepting.”


Free download: Access Connecticut breaking news, weather, stream newscasts live and more on-the-go with News 8 alerts directly to your phone.