Photos Of A Mike Pence LGBTQ Dance Party Reveal The "Rainbow Resistance" In Columbus, Ohio
While the White House hasn't acknowledged June as Pride Month, that didn't stop a LGBTQ dance party outside Mike Pence's hotel in Columbus, Ohio. Pence's visit to Ohio was a serendipitous crossover with Columbus Pride, which began on Friday.
The "Welcome Mike Pence: Big LGBTQ Dance Party" was launched via a Facebook event on Monday. Organizer Jay Smith told The Guardian that he didn't expect it to snowball like it did. “We want to jam the street with as many people as we can celebrating. I would love to see a sea of rainbow and dancing,” he told The Guardian.
Smith said he expected five or six hundred people. While videos and photos show lots of people, no official attendance numbers have been released.
"We decided to go with the dance party because it’s fun, it’s a loving event. When people dance they're happy," Smith told The Guardian. "We want to demonstrate for the LGBT community, especially those struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation, that while this administration doesn't have their back, we have their back and that we're going to be fighting for them every day."
Pence's anti-LGBTQ votes as a congressperson, his support for anti-discrimination laws as governor of Indiana, and his role in the Trump administration (which won't even acknowledge Pride Month) have spurred people to action in a peaceful-yet-fun protest.
“The energy that has developed stems from his record on LGBT issues. It’s been amplified because he’s coming on Friday, the first day of Columbus Pride," Smith told The Guardian. "The fact that he’s anti-LGBT and he’s coming on Pride weekend? We couldn’t do nothing."
First, Let's Set The Scene With Some Tunes
The party got started at 2 p.m. and lasted until 5 p.m. Pence arrived around 4:45 p.m., according to the HuffPost. He did not address the dancing crowd. Pence was in town to talk tax reform to a pro-Trump group called America First Policies.
"Expect Our Resistance"
One person showed up to the Gay Pence Party with a sign reading "Respect Our Existence Or Expect Our Resistance" with logos for the Human Rights Campaign. Human Rights Campaign is the largest nonprofit organization specifically aimed at improving queer civil rights.
There Signs Got Into It As Much As The Dancers
This isn't the first time queer people have specifically demonstrated against Pence. When he was sworn in as vice president and moved to Washington, D.C. in 2017, there was an impromptu dance party outside Pence's home to welcome him to the neighborhood.
Hot Mike Pence Showed Up
Hot Mike Pence—a character played by New Yorker Glen Pannell—heard about the party, and took a 12-hour overnight bus ride from New York. Pannell wears a suit jacket, tie and a short shorts reminiscent of the 1980s. For the Columbus festivities, Hot Mike Pence wore a rainbow tie.
He's described the character an alternative-reality Pence. Pannell also posed with the a poster of actual Mike Pence with a leather harness, reading 'Hoosier Daddy?"
Multiple Drag Queens Joined The Party
The queens who attended the festival came in custom anti-Trump gear to join the dance party.
And They Posed With A Trump Impersonator
Another drag queen came in a dress which looked like it used the Trump campaign font for a twist on Trump's favorite phrase about his former presidential campaign opponent: "Look Him Up." The Trump impersonator used tiny hands, to remind attendees of the president's least favorite slight.
It Got Pretty Crowded
The photos posted of the dance party attendees showed a crowded street of summer revelers and rainbow flags.
The DJ Was Someone Unexpected
Democratic politician and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Betty Sutton, manned the DJ booth for a bit. Sutton is running alongside Richard Cordray (the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) to take the governor's mansion from Republican John Kasich, who can't run again because of term limits.
In Fact, Numerous Politicians Showed Up
Rick Neal—who is a part of the Democratic wave trying to retake the House of Representatives in November—attended the dance party to reiterate his support of queer Ohioans. Neal recently won his primary, and will face Republican Rep. Steve Stivers in Ohio's 15th Congressional District. Stivers was first elected in 2010.