Inaugural Pride Parade In Mike Pence’s Hometown Draws Thousands

The first Pride festival in Mike Pence’s hometown exceeded organizers’ expectations.

Erin Bailey, a high schooler in Columbus, Indiana, planned the city’s inaugural LGBT event as her senior project. The April 14 event spanned two blocks and featured 24 vendors, a drag show, and Pence impersonator “Mike Hot-Pence” posing for photos and taking donations for LGBT charities.

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Most exciting for Bailey, though, was the turnout: Despite gloomy weather, more than 2,000 people showed up. Not bad for a town of some 47,000 people.

“It’s crazy. It’s awesome,” she told Indianapolis Star about the turnout.

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“Most people would think that all of us here are also anti-LGBT,” Bailey (above) told USA Today in March, referring to the vice president’s record of anti-LGBT policies. “But there are plenty of us who very much support the LGBT community and are members of the community.”

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Becky Gipson, who attended the festival with her wife, called the parade “an opportunity to send a message to Pence.” (She hopes to hold a similar event in her hometown of Lafayette, Indiana.) The vice president didn’t attend the festival himself, but a spokesperson claimed he was proud of Bailey.

“Vice President Pence commends Erin Bailey for her activism and engagement in the civic process,” rep Alyssa Farah said in a statement when the event was announced. “As a proud Hoosier and Columbus native, he’s heartened to see young people from his hometown getting involved in the political process.”

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Samantha Manzella is a writer and copy editor based out of the Hudson Valley. You can find her writing in a coffeehouse or searching Insta for the latest tattoo artist to hit the scene.

@slmjournalist

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