“The first gay pride festival here, the hometown of socially conservative Vice President Mike Pence and a city that once drew protests against health benefits for same-sex couples, proved surprising Saturday,” the IndyStar reported.
“The turnout was larger than expected,” the outlet noted. “More than 2,000 people cared less about the gloomy weather and more about the message.”
The celebration was organized by high school senior Erin Bailey, stemming from a class project. “It’s crazy,” she told the newspaper. “It’s awesome.” The celebration covered two blocks and featured drag performances and three dozen vendor booths.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was also in attendance to “celebrate with local advocates at the first-ever LGBT Pride Festival in Columbus, Indiana -- hometown of Vice President Mike Pence,” the organization wrote, “whose political career has been predicated on anti-LGBTQ animus.”
“By fearlessly standing up for equality, Erin Bailey is showing Mike Pence, who has a long, disturbing record of attacking and demonizing the LGBTQ community, that Hoosiers won’t stand for his brand of discriminatory politics,” HRC Senior Public Policy Advocate Jennifer Pike Bailey advised.
Twitter users quickly shared images of the event:
@HRC is proud to join the inaugural Columbus #LGBT #Pride Festival -- hometown of anti-#LGBTQ @Mike_Pence. Despite his deplorable legacy, Columbus is showing that discrimination has no place in Indiana. https://t.co/D7XjSOHSpz pic.twitter.com/xX8yNQcMj0
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 14, 2018
This is Erin Bailey - @erindigsplants - the teenager organizing the first ever pride festival in @VP Mike Pence's hometown (and hers!) of Columbus. Her story about how it's coming together for this weekend on @WTHRcom pic.twitter.com/eQj6wphc5Z
— Anna Carrera (@AnnaWTHR) April 10, 2018
— Mark Warden (@mwarden49) April 15, 2018
very first Pride Festival in Mike Pence's (and my) hometown. This event makes my heart so happy!! Photos by matthewdonaldphotography @MatthewDonaldH2 https://t.co/zg9yRh8Ruv #Pride #ColumbusINPride ❤🏳🌈 pic.twitter.com/N5Y9PEuOuz
— Jill Tatara (@jilltataraworld) April 14, 2018
Columbus, IN 1st annual Pride was today and I couldn't pass up a pic with Mike Hot Pence! 🏳🌈🏳🌈
— Josh Stigdon (@getSTIGGY_witit) April 14, 2018
— Mark Warden (@mwarden49) April 14, 2018
— Jen Wright Berryman (@jenlwberry) April 15, 2018
Columbus, IN. (Pence's hometown) held it's first ever Gay Pride parade. The rain didn't dampen anyone's fun:) pic.twitter.com/qf3ClKErbC
— Jane Reed (@kaslina) April 14, 2018
Congratulations to all of those involved!