As It Happens

Lethbridge family's rainbow house has become a symbol of joy and LGBTQ solidarity 

When Kim Siever painted his Lethbridge, Alta., house in rainbow colours, he says he hoped it would bring his neighbours joy and serve as a symbol "solidarity and support for the queer community."

Kim Siever says people are coming by to take selfies and show support for LGBTQ family members

A man with long gray hair and a matching beard stands in front of a house painted to look like a Pride rainbow. He has a serious expression on his face and the word "Solidarity" on his T-shirt.
Kim Siever, a journalist in Lethbridge, Alta., has painted his home the colours of the rainbow. (Submitted by Kim Siever)

People keep showing up at Kim and Mary Siever's house. 

The Lethbridge, Alta., family painted their home in rainbow colours last month, hoping it would bring their neighbours joy and serve as a symbol of "solidarity and support for the queer community." And so far, Kim Siever says it's doing just that.

"Local people were saying that it really brightens up the neighbourhood. It's pretty vibrant and they're glad to see it as they walk by it every day on their way to work," he told As It Happens guest host Tom Harrington.

Since the paint job last month, Siever says several people have stopped by his home to take selfies and admire the bright colours. One family, he says, brought their children decked out in rainbow capes and face paint.

But one visit in particular stands out for him.

"A couple of days ago, we had a family come by. Their 13-year-old had [recently] come out to them ... and they wanted to bring them by as a way of showing support for their child," Siever said.

"When I hear stories like that where a child has come out to their parents and their parents are trying to be find ways to be supportive, it makes me feel good because that's certainly something that more young people need in our world, especially within the queer community."

A house with wood siding rows painted in all the colours of the rainbow, resembling a Pride flag. It has a white trim, and two signs out front. One reads '"Support Our College and University." Another reads, "Protect Water."
A house in Lethbridge, Alta., painted all the colours of the rainbow, resembling a Pride flag. (Submitted by Kim Siever)

That 13-year-old is Quinn Fraser, a Lethbridge resident who loves roller derby and anime cosplay.

"Kim was really nice. He was very supportive and it was fun," Quinn said. "I loved it."

Quinn, who uses they/them pronouns, came out to their parents last year as a lesbian and nonbinary. They said their parents brought them to the house as a gesture of support.

"It means a lot, because I know they're thinking and caring about me and wanting me to know that there's this going on in the community and that there's other people who accept me," they said.

Moments like that are a balm to Siever, who says he and several other members of his family are part of Lethbridge's queer community.

A teenager poses in front of a house painted to look like a Pride rainbow. They have long, reddish-brown hair pulled back into a pony tail. They're wearing headphones around their neck and holding a lesbian pride flag. Those same lesbian pride colours are on the trim of their black skirt.
Quinn Fraser, 13, poses for a picture in front of a rainbow coloured house in Lethbridge, Alta. (Submitted by Tiffany Fraser)

Siever shares the home with his wife Mary and five of their children, ages seven to 21. He says they were mulling what colour to paint it last month when he noticed there were exactly 21 rows of wood siding, which is divisible by seven and perfect for a rainbow. 

It was a happy coincidence that he finished painting the public-facing sides of the house just in time for Pride month, he said. Now the family is giving out free Skittles to anyone who comes by to take a selfie during the month of June. 

Quinn showed up on May 30, he said — but, of course, he gave them some Skittles anyway.

"You can see the rainbow and taste the rainbow all at the same time," he said.

'All we've been getting is support'

It's also a coincidence, he says, that he's unveiled the rainbow house just a week after the city's Pride rainbow crosswalk was defaced.

"It's not surprising that the crosswalks were vandalized with skid marks," Siever said. "Hopefully no one's going to try and drive their vehicle onto the side of our house."

The same crosswalk was also vandalized in 2017. And Pride crosswalks across the country have met similar fates, including those in VancouverWhitehorseStratford, Ont., Brantford, Ont., Dawson Creek, B.C., Colwood, B.C., Swift Current, Sask., Airdrie, Alta., Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L., New Glasgow, N.S., Eastern Passage, N.S., Mirimachi, N.B., and more.

Nevertheless, Siever remains optimistic. He says the community has been overwhelmingly supportive. 

"We've thought about the possibility of something happening to our home, but so far, all we've been getting is support," he said. 


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Cameron Perrier. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said that Quinn Fraser came out to their parents a week prior to visiting the rainbow house. In fact, they came out in 2021.
    Jun 03, 2022 10:21 AM ET

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now