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Celebrating gay pride in Mike Pence's hometown, what do LGBTQ people and allies want to tell him?

Posted: 12:30 PM, Apr 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-15 16:49:32Z

Vice President Mike Pence's hometown of Columbus, Indiana, hosted its first-ever lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer pride event on Saturday, thanks to the efforts of one 18-year-old high school student and the local community that rallied around her.

 

Pence, whose political career has included opposition to same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination protections for gay Americans and allowing transgender people to use their preferred bathroom, has drawn ire from gay rights organizations such as GLAAD and gay public figures including Olympic skater Adam Rippon.

 

We asked 13 participants in Saturday's event to tell us what they wish Pence knew about the LGBTQ community.

Samantha Aulick, 46

"We're just the same. It's biological; it's no different than having brown eyes. ... We love, we cry, we laugh, we have families and -- here's what people don't realize -- in this day and age, I can't think of anyone who doesn't know, work with or isn't related to someone who's gay.

We're not in the closet anymore, and we're not going back."

Samantha Aulick, 46

 

Ari, 15

"I don't have anything nice to say. At this point, his ignorance is kind of a choice. After so long, if he chooses not to be open-minded -- well, this is kind of a slap in the face, and I'm thrilled."

Ari, 15

 

Dennis Wickline, 62, and Bill Hewitt, 56

"We've got a lot of ways to go, but we're bigger, better and more organized than they give us credit for."

Dennis Wickline, 62

 

Ann Jones, 73, who represented the First Presbyterian Church of Columbus alongside Abby Smith, 26

"We're all one humanity. We're all God's children, we all have divinity within us, and there's no reason to discriminate."

Ann Jones, 73

 

Job Willman, 22

"I think Mike Pence is just like any other man who is blissfully unaware of who is in the LGBTQ community and what we have to offer. I think he and other people just need to become more familiarized with the LGBTQ community."

Job Willman, 22

 

Sharon Andrews, 30

"It's just a general unawareness. If you don't think about people as people, it can be easy to make assumptions."

Sharon Andrews, 30

 

Glen Parrell, 52, who has impersonated the vice president since the end of 2016

"He should know it's young people that are leading the charge now, whether it's fighting for social justice or talking about ending gun violence in our schools. Those young people are going to be the people that vote in November. He should know what a force they are and that they're working for change.

He should know they're coming."

Glen "Mike Hot-Pence" Pannell, 52

Izzy Duron (center) poses with Daphne, 13, and Alex, a chihuahua

"Just simply that we are people, that we have feelings, and the things he says that don't respect us -- we don't appreciate that."

Izzy Duron, 18

 

Buddy Lane

"Happy Pride!"

Buddy Lane, "Too old to tell, sweetheart."

 

Spencer, 17.

"We're everywhere, even in his hometown where he thought nobody would be."

Spencer, 17

 

Casey, 16

"Love is love, you know?"

Casey, 16

 

Leah Hashagen, 21, poses with her sister, Jenna Hashagen, 18

"The argument that he makes is what most conservatives make, which is family values. I've never understood that. I think the healthiest home is a happy home where people love each other. That's the kind of family values that I think we should all be promoting."

Leah Hashagen, 21

 

Erin Bailey, 18, organized Columbus Pride

"What doesn't he know? Most things, honestly. I just want him to be able to see that in his hometown, we accept everyone, so he should as well."

Erin Bailey, 18