LGBTQ rights activists held a large dance party outside the temporary home of Vice President Mike Pence due to his advocacy of policies many within the community consider homophobic. The Vice President’s official place of residence is in the Naval Observatory, but Pence is to move in after inauguration. His temporary neighbors of Chevy Chase, Maryland had been putting up rainbow pride flags all throughout his stay there in opposition to Pence’s largely homophobic views.
Pence has had a history of homophobia in office. In 2000, Pence has stated on his congressional campaign website that he wanted to move funds from organizations in support of the LBGTQ community to conversion therapy, which is a therapy meant to change a person’s sexual orientation to make the person straight. It is banned in several states for being unscientific, ineffective, and abusive, and is often used on children by homophobic parents. Pence was also against same-sex marriage. As governor of Indiana in 2015, Pence passed a bill allowing businesses to refuse services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religious freedom. Pence voted against repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and against protections for employment of queer people. These laws and policies which discriminate against the LGBTQ community are what prompted the Werk for Peace event, a “going-away party” for Pence since he is to move out of the neighborhood and to his official residence. LGBTQ activists gathered around, bringing biodegradable confetti and plenty of pride flags to dance in protest of Pence’s homophobic policies. The street was closed down for the protest to block protesters from getting to Pence’s home, so activists just danced right outside the barrier. Many activists invited Pence to dance with them, though he was not home at the time. There were hundreds of dancers chanting things such as “We’re here, we’re queer, and we will dance.”
The event was organized by Werk For Peace, who want Pence to know that his views are not okay and that “Queer people are not going away.” They believe dance is a powerful form of protest, and will be organizing more events in the future.