News & Opinion

Pride Month 2018

‘Big LGBTQ dance party’ to greet Mike Pence in Ohio this Pride weekend

The Daily Beast

June 13, 2018

Mike Pence may not have known he will address a right-wing group’s conference in Columbus, Ohio, on the same weekend as LGBT Pride in the city.

But the vice president will most certainly know it when he shows up at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel in the city on Friday to address the America First Policies conference.

Outside the hotel, from 2 to 5 p.m., activists and performers will gather for a “Big LGBTQ Dance Party” to welcome the notoriously anti-LGBT Pence to the city.

At the time of writing, 421 people had confirmed their attendance at the event, with a further 1,500 “interested.”

The vice president’s anti-LGBT rap-sheet is long, and includes reportedly being the architect most recently of President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service-members.

Tyler Dillon, communications director for Progress Ohio, which is helping host the event, told The Daily Beast that there will be several performers, DJs, and drag queens, with activists speaking as well.

“A large part of why we’re doing it is that Mike Pence has a history of discriminating against the LGBTQ community,” Dillon said. “Now he has decided to come to Columbus on Pride weekend.”

Dillon said the intention of the dance party was “to come together and show love and support for anyone in the LGBTQ community” in the face of what Pence represents.

“No one is happy to see him this weekend, but a silver lining is to show the public generally, and make our voices heard to the administration, that there are a large group of people who won’t stand for the discrimination that’s been happening for the past couple of years.”

Pence is talking up President Trump’s tax cuts in the hotel’s second floor Woody Hayes ballroom, reported The Columbus Dispatch. It is part of America First Policies’ “Tax Cuts to Put America First” series, and Pence is due to speak at 3:30 p.m., with guests arriving from 1:30 p.m — unless, obviously, they are swayed to join in the pro-LGBTQ dancing outside.

In January 2017, a Queer Dance Party erupted outside Pence’s Chevy Chase, Maryland home. Last Christmas, a neighbor put up a rainbow flag with the slogan, “Make America Gay Again,” beside his Aspen driveway.

“Pride is about celebrating the progress we’ve made, but also recognizing we have a long way to go,” Dillon said. “This protest against Pence embodies that. So, come to 50 North 3rd Street on Friday afternoon, ready to dance and in your Pride gear. Mike Pence is helping us kick off Pride weekend in Columbus!”