Mike Pence's hometown of Columbus will hold its first LGBT pride festival

A high school student has organized the event in the small town

Published March 29, 2018 11:28AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Josh Edelson)
(Getty/Josh Edelson)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetVice President Mike Pence's hometown of Columbus, Indiana, is preparing for something it's never experienced: an LGBT pride festival.

The small town has only around 44,000 people, according to the last Census, but hundreds of people have already said they're either going or they're interested in going on Facebook.

She also said that most of the other students think Pence is "terrible."

“They don’t like his views on LGBT rights and we don’t like his stance on abortion and Planned Parenthood,” she said.

Pence came to national attention long before the 2016 presidential election when his state passed a "religious freedom" act that many argued gave businesses a blank check to discriminate against LGBT customers.

Pence has suggested that gay marriage could lead to "societal collapse," opposed the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and opposed the Obama administration's efforts to defend trans students' rights to use the bathroom that matches their gender identities.

The vice president has also been criticized for campaign literature that some say promoted gay conversion therapy, though he disputes the meaning of his passage.

The youth of Columbus are hoping to combat the cultural impact of politicians like Pence.

"Let's help make Columbus a more welcoming community for everyone," writes Erin Bailey, a high school student and the event's organizer. She told LGBTQ Nation that part of her motivation for the event was showing that Pence doesn't represent the entire town, even though it is largely conservative.

"[T]he LGBT community is here too," she said. "I wanted to show them ‘You’re not alone. There’s others like us.'"

By Cody Fenwick

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