High School Student Organizes First Ever Gay Pride Festival in Mike Pence’s Indiana Hometown

High school senior, Erin Bailey, has taken serious initiative and organized Columbus, Indiana’s first ever gay pride festival. Columbus is a relatively small town that was once home to our current vice president, Mike Pence. Pence is notorious for being a headache for the LGBT community and, unfortunately, his ideas in regards to same-sex marriage have cast a dark cloud over Columbus, leading many people to believe it’s a town that is intolerable toward homosexuals. Bailey, however, is working hard to try and change this stigma and show that not everyone in Columbus shares Pence’s partisanship. However, this is not an easy feat. Pence, as the former governor of Indiana, signed a bill under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act that permitted businesses the right to discriminate against homosexuals. Despite Pence’s discriminatory background and connection with Columbus, Bailey is trying her best to bring a new sense of pride to her small-town home. 

Courtesy: Huffington Post

Bailey’s idea to put together Columbus’s first pride festival originated from a senior project assignment. She had seen projects created by previous students but wanted to stand out and do something more impactful than the others. She reported to New York Daily News that she was inspired to do “something really big and something that would positively impact the community.” After attending a pride festival in a neighboring city, she was immediately inspired.

Courtesy: Daily News

The fact that Bailey was from the same town as Pence had often left her feeling chagrined. She couldn't deny that the majority of Columbus’s population is conservative. However, there are two sides to every situation. Regardless of the ties to Pence, Columbus is also home to many people more like Bailey. She hopes that the pride festival will aid Columbus in its shift toward becoming more progressive.

Bailey is by no means trying to lash out at Pence in a malicious way, but rather prove that the LGBT community supports acceptance, equality as well as everyone’s well-being and is equally worthy of the rights and treatment that everyone else has. The festival is planned to be held on April 14 and will include a drag show, vendors, music, food and an all-around good time. 

Courtesy: WFTV

At the age of only 18, Bailey is already making big moves in the hope of creating a better, more tolerant world. Be sure to keep an eye out for this young activist, as her efforts have surely only just begun.