Teenager to host first-ever LGBTQ Pride festival in Vice President Pence’s Indiana hometown

March 28, 2018

Daily News

Vice President Pence’s hometown is about to be full of pride for the first time.

A high school senior in Columbus, Ind., will throw the town’s first-ever LGBTQ Pride festival next month, taking a shot at President Trump’s ultra-conservative right-hand man.

Erin Bailey plans to host the rainbow-inspired festival on April 14, and it will feature educational booths, vendors, drag queens, music and other performances, according to a Facebook event page.

“I’ve lived in Columbus my whole life and I know nothing like this has ever happened before,” Bailey, 18, told the Daily News on Wednesday.

Pence, who was born in Columbus in 1959, has long been a thorn in the side of the LGBTQ community, and drew national ire in 2015 after he as governor of Indiana signed a contentious religious freedom bill that allowed businesses to discriminate against homosexuals.

Bailey’s Pride event will double as her high school “senior project.”

She came up with the idea after recently attending a panel made up of alumni from her school who were showcasing their senior projects.

“They all had nice projects but they weren’t anything that felt right or would change anything,” Bailey said. “I decided that I wanted to something really big and something that would change the community.”

After attending a Pride film festival in nearby Bloomington in January, the pieces fell into place, Bailey said.

“I got the idea for a Pride festival and the fact that it’s Mike Pence’s hometown made it even more perfect,” Bailey mused.

Bailey, who describes herself as a “progressive,” said she’s previously been ashamed to say she’s from the same town as Pence.

“I don’t agree with anything that he stands for,” Bailey said.

But she hopes the Pride festival could change that.

“We’re like a little pocket in Indiana filled with culture,” Bailey said of her hometown. “It’s conservative but it’s becoming more progressive.”

A spokeswoman for Pence did not return a request for comment from The News.

Bailey isn’t the first activist to troll Pence for his anti-LGBTQ views.

Hundreds of pro-LGBT protesters threw a dance party outside Pence’s suburban Washington, D.C., home a few days before the inauguration.

When Pence traveled to Colorado for the holidays in December, he was met by a “Make America Gay Again” banner wrapped around a stone pillar by the entrance to his vacation pad.

Pence — who once expressed fear that marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse” — likes to call himself a “Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

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