Lexi Magnusson calls the approximately 10,000 rainbow colored lights decorating the front bushes of her Kitsap County, Washington, home “spite lights.”
Magnusson, 34, a married mother of four children, put up the lights to celebrate the Christmas season but chose colors including red, green, blue, purple and yellow, instead of the white lights she traditionally hangs, to send a message to someone in her neighborhood Magnusson describes as anti-gay.
Magnusson said the woman, whose identity she has kept private, told Magnusson and her husband in a conversation this summer that she moved her family to Washington from a nearby state in order to “escape the gays and the transgender.”
“I saw red but knowing that she [lived in my neighborhood] and, having been Mormon, I knew that yelling or being angry would only make her more firm in her position,” said Magnusson, who said the woman introduced herself as Mormon. Magnusson said she and her husband, Lance, left the Mormon Church because of its stance on LGBTQ issues.
The Mormon Church states on its website that "identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual or experiencing same-sex attraction is not a sin and does not prohibit one from participating in the Church, holding callings, or attending the temple." The church's policy also states that "Sexual relations are reserved for a man and woman who are married and promise complete loyalty to each other."
“I said to her, ‘Your kids going to be exposed to it anywhere and I’m just glad that kids these days know not to be horrible to each other based on who they are or how they were born,’” Magnusson recalled.
Magnusson told ABC News the woman has not spoken to her or her family members since that conversation.
When it came time to decorate for Christmas, Magnusson, who described herself as “gutted” by the 2016 election and the negative tone that surrounded it, decided to take action by decorating with lights colored like the rainbow, a symbol of the LGBTQ movement.
Magnusson posted a photo of her home on Facebook and Reddit earlier this month, earning thousands of views and comments.
“It’s been kind of baffling because really at the end of the day I just put lights on my hedges,” Magnusson said. “I work in better ways to encourage acceptance than just lights at my house, like supporting marriage quality and [LGBTQ] organizations.”
Magnusson said others in the neighborhood have been supportive of the light display. She has not heard any feedback from the woman whose conversation sparked the display.
Christmas is just weeks away but Magnusson plans to keep the lights on afterward.
“I’ll leave them up as long as the homeowners' association will let me,” she said.