If you’re walking near the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, you most likely won’t be looking at the church itself – but rather, at the brightly painted rainbow house directly across the street. It’s no wonder every passerby had to stop and take pictures of this beautiful house, for it is truly unique – just like the cause it stands for. Although activist Aaron Jackson doesn’t identify as gay himself, he considers himself a passionate ally for the LGBTQ community, and it was this passion that lead him to create the now famous “Equality House.”
When Jackson saw that there was a house for sale right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, he said he immediately knew what to do.
“I saw the house across the street [from the church] had a ‘For Sale’ sign on it, and it hit me right away,” Johnson said in an interview with CNN. “I’m gonna buy that home and I’m gonna paint it the color of the pride flag.”
Why was this location for Jackson’s soon-to-be “Equality House” so perfect? Well, for years the Westboro Baptist Church has established firmly that they don’t take kindly to the LGBTQ community, as well people of other religions. The organization is very public with their controversial opinions and have even been found protesting the funerals of fallen American soldiers because of their religion or sexual orientation.
Jackson felt that this was exactly the organization who should be witnessing his message of acceptance and equality every single day. He purchased the house for $81,000 in 2013 and the project was officially underway.
“I don’t like them [Westboro] messing with veterans,” the vet told the Topeka Capitol-Journal.
With the contractor selected, the house was soon vibrantly painted every color of the rainbow and dubbed “The Equality House.” Thousands of neighbors and visitors to the Topeka area have stopped by to admire and take pictures the beautifully painted, meaningful house. Even better, hundreds of LGBTQ community members have stopped by the “Equality House” to enjoy the safe space and take pride in what the establishment stands for.
Jackson’s goal is to host anti-bullying events out of the “Equality House.” These events will teach tolerance and hopefully play part in decreasing the startling number of LGBTQ kids who commit suicide because of bullying each year.
If you were wondering, the Westboro Baptist Church did have a (unsurprisingly homophobic) response to the painting of the “Equality House,” essentially saying that the house now represents a physical entity of everything they stand against. Regardless of rhetoric, the colors of the “Equality House” can still be see from the Westboro Baptist headquarters to this day.
What do you think of this house and the message it stands for? Share your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.