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Westboro Baptist Church attempts a homophobic protest and it backfires spectacularly

Emma Powys Maurice February 11, 2020
Westboro Baptist Church

High school students organised a counter protest (Twitter/@bethatmama)

The notoriously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church attempted to pick a fight with an LGBT-inclusive university, but the students were having none of it.

The Phelps family church, also known as “the most hated family in America”, held anti-LGBT+ protests at several locations throughout Los Angeles on Monday, having travelled all the way from Kansas to picket the Academy Awards.

Among their targets were the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC), which provoked the church with their “sinful” LGBT-inclusive policies.

“That’s where things are being taught: in the churches, in the schools… and it’s been wholly given over to sodomy, to fornication, to adultery,” church elder Sam Phelps-Roper told the Daily Trojan.

All of those things have become normalised, starting in the schools, starting in the churches, and it’s shameful.”

But the students were prepared for them. The six Westboro Baptist Church members were vastly outnumbered by more than 50 students and staff, who came out in force to reject their homophobic hate.

They lined the streets of Exposition Boulevard and Vermont Avenue with fluttering Pride flags, wearing rainbow clothing and carrying signs that read “Love not hate” and “God loves”.

Steven Vargas of the Queer & Ally Student Assembly led protesters in chants of “Love trumps hate” and “Homophobia has got to go”, followed by gospel parodies of Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ and Hayley Kiyoko’s ‘Girls Like Girls’, replacing lyrics with Bible verses and homophobic slurs.

“It’s so great to see everyone who is of the LGBTQ community come together for something that we all need to stand up for,” Vargas said, adding that it was especially empowering for LGBT+ students who aren’t as supported in their home states.

“When we’re in our own hometown or wherever we grew up in, it’s just us, and we’re alone. Being able to stand up [to] this type of hate that we’ve lived with our entire lives together as a community is very powerful.”

Counter protests at several high schools in the area also drew dozens of students as the younger generation gave a united display of resistance.

More: California, Los Angeles, Phelps family, University of California, University of Southern California, westboro baptist church

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