Planting Peace, the non-profit organization responsible for the creating the rainbow pro-queer Equality House across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, has a new plan to fight against the hate group: purchasing another house in the neighborhood and dedicating it specifically to the transgender community.
Planting Peace is currently crowdfunding $70,000 via CrowdRise to purchase the house directly next door to the Equality House -- and essentially on the front lawn of The Westboro Baptist Church -- with the intention of painting it the colors of the transgender flag. For the past several years the organization has painted the original Equality House these colors on the Transgender Day of Remembrance and now it wants a permanent home to honor, celebrate and educate about the trans community.
To help spread the word about this new project, Planting Peace enlisted the help of 8-year-old activist Avery Jackson -- a child who has been outspoken about her own transition and previously captivated the Internet away with her story.
"The purpose of Planting Peace's Equality House is to counter the actions of hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church with love and compassion, and serve as a symbol to the LGBT community that they are not alone, that they have support from so many people," says Aaron Jackson, President of Planting Peace. "We've painted the house the colors of the transgender flag each year to honor the transgender community and, specifically, those who have taken their lives because of violence and bullying. I was deeply touched when Avery visited us and said it brought her joy and gave her confidence. She inspired us to partner with her to create a symbol of support for the transgender community by expanding the Equality House and permanently painting our neighboring house the colors of the transgender flag."
Avery Jackson told The Huffington Post, "I loved the rainbow [Equality] House when it was painted like the transgender flag." She added, "I felt so happy and proud to be transgender. I wish people weren’t afraid of transgender people. I’m not a monster. I’m not scary. I just want to be treated like every other human."
The Equality House, which was first painted the colors of the rainbow flag in March 2013, has 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, as well as a counter-protest to Westboro's planned protest of a David Bowie concert.
Want to help make the expansion of the Equality House's efforts a reality? Check out the CrowdRise widget below.