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Thousands Celebrate LGBTQ Pride in Mike Pence's Hometown

Tuesday Apr 17, 2018

An LGBTQ Pride event in Vice President Mike Pence's hometown over the weekend went better than expected, thanks to a local high school student.

Starting out as a school project of 18-year-old Erin Bailey, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech, the festival grew and, according to The Huffington Post, attracted more than 2,000 attendees to Pence's hometown of Columbus, Indiana - about 50 miles south of Indianapolis.

"It's crazy. It's awesome," she told Indianapolis Star about the number of attendees.

One of the Pride-goers was Green Pannell, an LGBTQ rights activist who made headlines for resembling the vice president and was dubbed "Mike Hot-Pence." Pannell roamed the festival taking donations to Indiana Youth Group, an organization that supports LGBTQ youth in the state.

Bailey's GoFundMe campaign for the event earned over $6,000.

Though Pence, who has come under fire for his anti-gay views, did not attend, he did respond to the LGBTQ Pride festival when it was announced earlier this month.

"Vice President Pence commends Erin Bailey for her activism and engagement in the civic process," spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement. "As a proud Hoosier and Columbus native, he's heartened to see young people from his hometown getting involved in the political process."

Bailey said she wants people to know just because Pence has anti-gay views doesn't mean everyone in Columbus shares his sentiment.

"Most people would think that all of us here are also anti-LGBT," she told USA Today earlier this month. "But there are plenty of us who very much support the LGBT community and are members of the community."

The Human Rights Campaign also lauded Bailey.


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