TOPEKA -- The infamous Westboro Baptist Church found itself across the street from a drag show event hosted by its neighbor, the rainbow painted Equality House Saturday. The event was planned as a fundraiser for anti-bullying programs spearheaded by the nonprofit human rights organisation Planting Peace, which owns and maintains the Equality House.
According to a spokesperson for Planting Peace, its first ever drag show, which was entitled "Drag Down Bigotry," drew an estimated audience of around 150 participants.
"The fact is that teenagers across the country are taking their lives every year at an alarming rate. Research into these cases indicates that almost every suicide is the result of feeling less than or not good enough, many of these in fact being LGBTQ youth," Amelia Markham, Director of Outreach for Equality House said in a statement.
"We want to use every opportunity we can to switch that message and preach love and inclusion instead of hate. The drag show was the perfect opportunity to declare that message and to raise funds for our anti-bullying initiative for schools in the area and eventually across the country."
Equality House has held a number of previous events which were designed to bring visibility to LGBTQ people and the LGBTQ community's issues across from the Westboro Baptist Church's compound, including a same-sex wedding and a lemonade stand that raised thousands of dollars.
"Our first 'Drag Down Bigotry' event was a huge success and we are very pleased with how many people participated in and/or supported our efforts," Aaron Jackson, President of Planting Peace said in a statement. "This was another successful step towards silencing the hate from the WBC and bringing awareness to the high suicide rate amongst our LGBTQ youth."