The U.S. has seen an alarming rise in hate over the past month, with the Southern Poverty Law Center documenting 701 cases of harassment between November 9 and 18. LGBT people are among the many populations left vulnerable.
Washington state resident Lexi Magnusson saw this discrimination firsthand when her neighbor knocked on her door and told her why she moved to their town outside Seattle. She made that decision, she said, after finding out her kids' old school allowed same-sex couples at the prom and taught students to accept transgender people. She felt this went against her Mormon values.
At first, Magnusson didn't know how to react. "I walked inside [my house] and rage-ate a bowl of nachos," she told The Huffington Post. Then, she did something that made a bigger statement. She bought 10,000 Christmas lights of all different colors and arranged them in a rainbow on the bushes outside her house.
"Our new neighbors are bigots. Since regular aggression leads to assault charges, I went with passive aggression. 10,000 lights later," she captioned a photo of the decorations on Reddit.
She told The Huffington Post that the process of decorating her lawn was "cathartic" for her, but took on a greater meaning when a gay cousin who likes Christmas decorations gave it his backing. "His approval was everything," she said. "I wanted the rainbow to stand out so there was no question as to what it is."
And now there isn't any question of where Mangusson stands on homophobia. Her display not only glows brilliantly, but also sends an important message of love on the holidays.