Queer Rights Group Plans to Throw Mike Pence a Dance Party He Won't Soon Forget
The resistance begins a new chapter with Trump's inauguration this week, and early reports suggest it will be fabulous.
“We are taking our dance floor to the streets to say, ‘We are here, we are queer and we will dance,'” Firas Nasr, an organizer with the Washington, D.C.-based Werk for Peace, told AlterNet over the phone. “It’s about using movement as a form of resistance and protest.”
Nasr is one of scores of Washington, D.C. residents planning to stage a pre-inaugeration queer dance party outside the home of Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. Equipped with biodegradable glitter, glow sticks, rainbow suspenders and “bomb music,” Nasr says the dance party will send a message to one of the country’s most notorious homophobic and transphobic public officials that the LGBTQ community is not backing down.
“We will happily protest bigotry through love, connection and dance,” Nasr says of the event, which was organized by Werk for Peace and the Disrupt J20 Collective, both Washington, D.C.-based formations. “We are coming out in all our glamor and all our fabulousness, and we are ready to werk.”
"The queer community has, for a long time, used dance as a form of self-expression and healing," notes Nasr, whose group formed as a response to last summer's massacre at the Orlando LGBTQ Pulse club’s Latinx night.
The mobile dance party will take aim at a politician with a long career track record of statements and positions that have directly harmed LGBTQ communities, including overt support for policies that expand discrimination against transgender children in public schools and the backing of sadistic conversion therapies for gay teens.
In 2006, Pence called for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, declaring “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” And as far back as 1996, Pence expressed opposition to the attendance of AIDS activists at the San Diego Republican National Convention, which took place that same year. “An endless line of pro-choice women, AIDS activists and proponents of affirmative action may have struck a chord with the Washington press corps,” he complained in an article for the conservative think tank, the Indiana Policy Review.
Pence is a leader in the national push to defund Planned Parenthood and signed into law in 2015 a draconian anti-abortion bill that was blocked by a federal judge this summer. He has (in)famously declared, "I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history.” Pence is also a backer of harsh anti-immigrant laws and Trump’s proposed wall on the border with Mexico. He opposed the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, supports the privatization of public education and makes no disguise of his climate denialism.
After Wednesday night, Pence might find his lawn blanketed in glitter and rainbows by some of the communities he has spent his life in public office targeting. An invitation to the queer dance party states, “We plan on leaving behind [biodegradable] glitter and rainbow paraphinalia that he can NEVER forget.” It invites community members to come out and “tell Daddy Pence: homo/transphobia is not tolerated in our country!”
Nasr notes that many of Pence’s neighbors in Chevy Chase have displayed rainbow flags outside of their houses in a show of solidarity with LGBTQ people. Organizers of Wednesday’s action have reached out to Pence’s neighborhood and “gotten some positive response,” he says.
David Thurston, an arts organizer with the Disrupt J20 Collective, tells AlterNet that “Pence is a bigot, and we want to expose that, but we also want to have some fun while doing solid political work.”
“Wednesday night will be a taste of what people will see at inauguration,” says Thurston. “Our goal is to show that we can resolutely oppose Trump's agenda while also having a vision of what kind of world we can live in and build solidarity, relationships of trust and effective grassroots movements in this country to stop Trump in his tracks.”
The queer dance party will rage outside of Pence’s house as people across the country prepare to take to the streets to oppose a Trump administration that will put white nationalists and overt racists in the White House.
“On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States,” Disrupt J20 declared in a statement. “We call on all people of conscience to shut down the ceremonies. If Trump is inaugurated at all, let it happen behind closed doors, showing the world that the vast majority of people in the U.S. do not support his presidency or consent to his rule.”