Pride Pad

Rainbow house promotes peace and equality

RAINBOW+FOR+EQUALITY.+Anyone+who+has+done+much+research+about+the+LGBTQ%2B+community+has+most+likely+heard+of+the+Westboro+Baptist+Church%2C+described+by+the+Washington+Post+as+%E2%80%9Ccult-like%E2%80%9D+and+%E2%80%9Chomophobic.%22+They+are+known+for+protesting+soldiers%E2%80%99+funerals%2C+being+anti-semitic%2C+and+promoting+the+death+penalty+for+LGBTQ%2B+Americans.+However%2C+just+across+the+street+from+the+church+is+a+house+that+has+been+dubbed+the+%E2%80%9CEquality+House.%E2%80%9D+The+house+is+painted+rainbow+and+is+a+resource+center+for+Planting+Peace%2C+a+global+organization+that+promotes+peace+and+equality.+Photo+courtesy+of+Creative+Commons.

RAINBOW FOR EQUALITY. Anyone who has done much research about the LGBTQ+ community has most likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, described by the Washington Post as “cult-like” and “homophobic.” They are known for protesting soldiers’ funerals, being anti-semitic, and promoting the death penalty for LGBTQ+ Americans. However, just across the street from the church is a house that has been dubbed the “Equality House.” The house is painted rainbow and is a resource center for Planting Peace, a global organization that promotes peace and equality. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

 Anyone who has done much research about the LGBTQ+ community has most likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Described by the Washington Post as “cult-like” and “homophobic,” they are known for protesting soldiers’ funerals, being anti-semitic, and promoting the death penalty for LGBTQ+ Americans. 

   However, just across the street from the church is a house that has been dubbed the “Equality House.” The house is painted rainbow and is a resource center for Planting Peace, a global organization that promotes peace and equality.  

   In 2013, Arron Jackson, the co-founder of Planting Peace, started looking at houses on the same street as the Westboro Baptist Church to make a statement about his own beliefs. “I want to show where there’s hate, there can also be love,” Jackson said to the Washington Post. The paint job immediately became a sensation, drawing tourists from not just Kansas, but all over the country.

   Despite the differing opinions housed in the two buildings, Davis Hammet, one of the charity workers who lives in the house, told The Guardian that the relationship is similar to that of other neighbors: casual and surface level. Rebekah Phelps-Davis, the daughter of the founder of Westboro told The Guardian, “We’re always cordial, we are friendly with them. But we will not be friends with them.” 

   Since its opening in 2013, the house has had thousands of visitors come to take pictures or peacefully protest. The owners say that visitors are always welcome to take pictures and to show their pride and support of the LGBTQ+ community. The Equality House has also hosted many people and events from drag queens to weddings. 

   Visitors who left reviews on Google are widely enthusiastic about the house calling it “pure” and “beautiful.” So many people have voiced their support and appreciation for such a public display of pride and acceptance. The house has brought so many people joy, even if they have not been in person, by just knowing that something like this exists in the world. The Equality House fosters the entire LGBTQ+ community and has created a place where people can be proud of their authentic selves, right next to a symbol that has made many feel rejected.