06/15/2018 05:02 pm ET

LGBTQ Dance Party Greets Mike Pence In Ohio

“The fact that he’s anti-LGBT and he’s coming on Pride weekend? We couldn’t do nothing," event organizer Jay Smith said.

Though it wasn’t on his official itinerary, Vice President Mike Pence found himself at a dance party in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday.

The “Big LGBTQ Dance Party,” featuring drag queens and DJs, greeted the vice president outside of the Renaissance Hotel to protest his anti-LGBTQ policies. Pence was there to address the pro-Trump group America First Policies about tax reform.

The event attracted hundreds of people dancing in the streets among rainbow flags. Friday marks the first day of Columbus’ Pride weekend.

Signs at the gathering read “Love all people, tax the rich,” “Hoosier daddy?” and “Respect our existence or expect our resistance.” 

The dance party lasted from about 2 to 5 p.m. Pence arrived at around 4:45 p.m., but he did not address the crowd outside.

“The energy that has developed stems from [Pence’s] record on LGBT issues,” event organizer Jay Smith told The Guardian. “The fact that he’s anti-LGBT and he’s coming on Pride weekend? We couldn’t do nothing.”

Pence has held a variety of anti-LGBTQ political positions since he ran for Congress in 2000.

In 2010, Pence voted against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal to allow LGBTQ soldiers to openly serve in the military. He also supported an amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage to Indiana’s constitution in 2014.

He is second-in-command in a presidential administration that attempted to ban transgender people from serving in the military and refused to investigate cases reported by transgender students who were denied access to bathrooms and lockers. Under the Trump administration, business owners can refuse to serve LGBTQ people, and the Department of Health and Human Services allows health care workers to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients for moral or religious reasons.

Friday wasn’t the first time Pence was treated to a dance party. About 200 people gathered in front of his house before he was inaugurated as vice president last year.

#TheFutureIsQueer is HuffPost’s monthlong celebration of queerness, not just as an identity but as action in the world. Find all of our PrideMonth coverage here.

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