One of the most highly visible symbols of LGBT equality in America became the victim of an anti-LGBTQ attack this week.
The Equality House has stood across from the Westboro Baptist Church compound since a non-profit called Planting Peace bought it and painted it the colors of the rainbow flag in 2013.
In the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 23, Aaron Jackson, the President of Planting Peace, was in his bedroom inside the Equality House when he heard a series of strange noises outside.
Jackson called the police who, upon investigation, found the building’s Pride flags scattered in the street and the words “fuk fags” spray-painted on the side of the house.
A few days later, Planting Peace staff found seven bullet holes in a window of the building on the same side of the house as the graffiti.
According to Jackson, the investigation is ongoing.
“The blatant acts of hate we experience at the Equality House mirror the acts of hate and discrimination our LGBT family experiences every day,” Jackson told The Huffington Post. “Planting Peace has seen an increase in hate mail, death threats and physical acts of vandalism and violence over the past three months. According to the FBI, the LGBT community is more likely to experience a hate crime than any other minority group.”
He added, “The LGBT movement has made tremendous progress on all fronts, including legislation that protects LGBT fundamental human rights, but we still have substantial work to do to change people’s hearts and minds, which is the most important change.”
The Equality House has become a powerful symbol in the fight for queer liberation, having spearheaded numerous activist events over the last three years. One of its earliest efforts involved a child’s lemonade stand for peace. Other events have included a gay wedding, a drag show and a mock wedding between Dumbledore and Gandalf.
Planting Peace has also engaged in other large-scale activism efforts, like installing a billboard in Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ hometown last September calling out the hypocrisy of her views on same-sex marriage, and another billboard depicting Donald Trump and Ted Cruz kissing.
Our thoughts are with Jackson and The Equality House at this time. Want more information on The Equality House and Planting Peace? Head here.