As the saying goes, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by letting your homophobic neighbor know that her comments aren’t welcome here.” Or something like that.
This year, Lexi Magnusson in Washington is sending her neighbor this message loud and clear with a few thousand Christmas lights. Instead of decorating with typical dangling icicles and inflatable penguins, Magnusson turned up the heat and made her hedges into a rainbow.
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Magnusson shared her photo on Reddit. In the post, Magnusson wrote that she felt compelled to send a message to her neighbor after a choice encounter.
The neighbor had learned that Magnusson and her husband were Mormon and decided to introduce herself. Though Magnusson’s husband told the neighbor they had since left the Mormon church, she didn’t get the hint.
“She also must have missed the HRC sticker on my car,” Magnusson wrote.
The neighbor then went on to tell Magnusson that she moved her family to Washington because she was “so sick of the gays and transgenders” making their “lifestyle” acceptable—especially this girl her son asked out to prom who turned him down because the girl was already planning to go with her girlfriend. She also detailed an assembly held at a middle school about the realities of being transgender, and how the middle school focused on a trans student.
Magnusson told BuzzFeed that during the conversation she let her neighbor know where she stands on gay and trans issues.
“I told her that kids were going to be exposed anywhere she went and that I was glad that kids these days get it and aren’t horrible to each other because of who someone is or how they were born,” Magnusson said. “Since then, [my neighbor] won’t even so much as wave to me when we pass.”
While Magnusson joked on Reddit that the rainbow bush move was passive aggressive, she explained to Mashable that the lights were more than just a symbolic middle finger.
“I wanted it something more to show my solidarity and belief than just the Human Rights Campaign stickers on our cars,” Magnusson said. “I’ve worked in the background to support LGBT causes and have been very vocal on Facebook—but in real life, it’s still really hard for me. It’s probably the wimpy way to go, but it’s not nothing.”
Magnusson plans on extending her creation to the roof as soon as her husband comes home from a trip and he can spot her. Until then, her “hedge or high water” approach to resisting homophobia is just what America needs to round out 2016.