Hundreds gather as Chicago's 'Legacy Project' unveils Equality House installation

Tue. April 22, 2014 1:42 PM by Andy Ambrosius

legacy project at equality house in topeka, ks

Topeka, KS - The Equality House in Topeka, Kansas is now home to a prideful exhibition as hundreds gathered to celebrate the unveiling of a new LGBT installation directly across the street from the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church headquarters.

Chicago's Legacy Project partnered with the rainbow-colored house to celebrate "Equality House Presents The Legacy Project," a move to install the new memorial, mirroring The Legacy Walk that lines North Halsted Street in Boystown. The new exhibition, officially made public on April 12, drew in people from as far away as Texas, Oklahoma and Florida to the site in America's Heartland. 

The Equality House is now home to 18 plaques, framed in bronze and under glass, representing influential people from throughout history that contributed to the LGBT community in a positive way. According to Legacy Project co-founder and Executive Director Victor Salvo, it's a move to teach younger generations about important LGBT figures throughout the centuries.

"Our entire point for this installation, and all of the work that we do, is to give LGBT kids something to hold onto in a world that doesn't value their existence and is constantly sending them negative messages," said Salvo, who officiated at the unveiling. "We want to give them positive role models and inspiration for their future."

The celebration was a part of a planned series of events in conjunction with GLSEN's National Day of Silence on April 11. Festivities also included a NOH8 campaign photo shoot where an additional 500 people viewed the new Legacy Project exhibition while waiting to be photographed.

"The exposure Legacy Project and LGBT achievements received from these combined events was astonishing and tremendously uplifting," said Salvo, recounting the story of two women who had traveled four hours just to see the installation. "They were both so moved and appreciative that the installation existed — telling me, 'I never thought in my lifetime I would live to see something like this. I am just overwhelmed at what y'all have done ...we'll becoming back, with our kids.'"

Legacy Project officials unveiled The Legacy Walk in Chicago in October of 2012 where hundreds gathered to celebrate the installation of 18 plaques adorned with famous faces in the LGBT equal rights movement line the streets of Boystown. Five more plaques were added a year later.

Salvo says the partnership with Equality house began in the spring of 2013 when the Legacy Project honored Aaron Jackson for his work in creating the iconic fixture across from the Westboro Baptist Church, a group world-renowned for its anti-LGBT stance and signature "God Hates Fags" signs. After nearly a year of planning, the Legacy Project has officially brought its first permanent display outside of Chicago to Kansas.