In what has been described as a “gut-punching” homophobic attack, a pride flag being flown in Mallala in South Australia has been defaced with the words “fuck the faggots. ”

The flag, which was removed on Wednesday by a local resident, was flying at a reserve in the centre of Mallala in recognition of Pridevember, an initiative of Feast Festival.

“I felt this really horrific gut-punching feeling because I realised in the span of me working (an overnight) shift… someone in the community had gone and written such a derogatory message, I’d never been more angry and more saddened” 24 year old local resident Liam*, who removed the flag after finishing work, told the ABC.

Now in its third year, Pridevember aims to raise awareness of LGBTQI communities in South Australia, with some 27 councils this year choosing to fly a pride flag for the duration of November in celebrate of inclusivityand diversity. This is the third year Mallala council has chosen to take part in in the initiative.

“The contrast, that was probably the worst thing for me, going from being filled with pride and reassurance to feeling almost attacked as a member of the community,” Liam added.

“People don’t look at the (flag) as an invasion of the community. It’s like the Adelaide Plains community saying, we see you, we accept you, we love you.

“But obviously there are naysayers out there who don’t see it as the same sort of symbol. It was frustrating to witness that.”

 Helen Sheldon, Feast Festival CEO said that the attack “unfairly reflected on the council region” adding “the council has chosen to fly the flag to show support for its local LGBTQI communities, and that is a very important and positive statement, [the vandalism] is a clear indication… there is still work to be done.”

Sheldon’s sentiments were the same expressed by Adelaide Plains Mayor Mark Wasley who said that he was “disappointed” by the “explicit graffiti.”

“In previous years, the flag has been stolen, which is naturally disappointing, however this recent experience is unprecedented and unacceptable. As a council, and as a community, we cannot condone this act of hate.

“A replacement flag will be flown again (and) raised and lowered daily for the remainder of November.”

*Name altered for anonymity

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