Since 1986, the Pink House, sitting on the corner of Robinson and Center streets, has served as a safe haven for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.
Thirty-three years later, the structure, originally purchased by same-sex couple John Schenck and Robert Loyd – the duo, married in Canada in 2004, have since died, Loyd in 2015 and Schenck in 2016 – is now at risk of being sold.
A GoFundMe page was set up shortly after midnight on Tuesday to garner support.
“We are trying to raise money to help keep it in the family that[’s] done so much for the LGBTQ community,” the website reads.
According to the page, the fundraiser is being organized by Nicki Hunter.
“Hi all,” Hunter posted to Facebook on Monday. “I recently stumbled upon the upsetting news that The Pink House is at risk of being sold. It becomes an actual historical landmark next year! As this place has a special place in our hearts and is a staple of the LGBTQ+ community in Arkansas, I felt the need to act. Give a little if you can.”
In total, $75,000 is being raised for the home. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, $25 had been given toward the cause.
“[Seventy-five thousand] is asking a lot, but I believe it is worth it for this cause,” the GoFundMe page states.
According to the page, the asked amount is what it will take to cover the funds of the house until it becomes a historical landmark in 2020, when other financial options become available.
The Log Cabin Democrat reached out to Hunter for a comment but didn’t receive a response by press time Tuesday.
The LCD also stopped by the Pink House in Conway to speak with residents on Tuesday but no one at the house at the time.
Anyone who wants to donate or learn more about the cause, can visit www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-pink-house.
LGBTQ+ in Conway:
The LGBTQ+ cause was spearheaded in Conway for many years at the hands of Schenck and Loyd.
The two were both politically and socially active in the 1990s in regards to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and its remarks about same-sex rights.
In 2005, a documentary was released, which starred the two, who had been together for 30 years at that time. In the movie, the couple recounted the community’s opposition of their efforts to spread and teach tolerance – a banner with the word is currently on display at the house for all to see from the outside.
The first Conway Pride Parade was organized by Schenck and Loyd in 2003. That same year, 35-year-old Wesley Bono a counter protestor to the couple’s same-sex rights, led a manure dumping event that led to a ton being placed on the couple’s yard before dawn the day of the parade. Bono was fined for unconstitutional and misdemeanor harassment and given a suspended sentence.
Through the years, the two were harassed on multiple occasions, the Pink House shot several times, received a number of death threats which accumulated to the point of having an FBI agent assigned to watch over them, were arrested in 2003, seen the wrath of the Westboro Baptist Church and older churchgoers and more.