A crowd of 200 danced their way to Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s house on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., in protest of what they view as his anti-LGBTQ agenda.
“Let’s show Daddy Pence who is boss,” shouted organizer Firas Nasr to the group that met at the Friendship Heights Metro Station to walk over together.
“Yas queen!” Nasr exclaimed to a cheering crowd donning rainbow suspenders, glow sticks, glitter and homemade signs. “We do not tolerate bigotry and hate in our country. We are here, and we will dance!”
Nasr works for WERK for Peace, a grassroots queer activist group founded after the Orlando nightclub shooting last June, that uses dance to promote peace. WERK for Peace teamed up with Disrupt J20 to host the event publicized primarily through Facebook.
The event page, with its thousands of attendees, called on participants to “get ready to WERK it and tell Daddy Pence: homo/transphobia is not tolerated in our country!”
The glowing, singing group of protesters, which grew in numbers as it dance-walked the mile between the Friendship Heights Metro Station and Pence’s house, met a blockade as it approached the vice president-elect’s house at the intersection of Tennyson Street and Western Avenue.
Protesters twerked into the final stretch to the tune of Rihanna’s “Work,” with Nasr dancing atop the van at the helm. At this point, neighborhood residents emerged to watch and join, some cheering and smiling from their stoops on the normally quiet Western Avenue.
The affluent neighborhood in Chevy Chase, Maryland, near the border of Washington, began to fill up with gay pride flags when the vice president-elect announced his temporary move-in in November.
During his term as governor of Indiana, Pence became known for supporting policies considered anti-LGBTQ. He famously said in 2006 that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to “societal collapse.”
Matthew Palmquist and Radhika Sahai are students at nearby Georgetown University who came to show their support, carrying along a sign reading, “A religious registry led to the Third Reich, so please reason with your queen, oh big daddy Mike.”
Despite being at the event for LGBTQ rights, Palmquist mentioned the religious registry in his sign to show support for the other groups he sees as targeted by the Trump administration. “All the minority groups are much stronger if we all band together.”
“We hate Trump,” Palmquist, of Ellensburg, Washington, said. “I myself am from a county where Trump won by a very large margin. Lots of the people in my hometown are Trump supporters. I don’t agree with it at all. And I think it’s really important that we constantly let people know that Trump isn’t what we agree with.”
John Lopez and Adam Miramon live in D.C. and plan on going to more of these events. They admitted that they weren’t activists until this recent election season. “2016 changed everything,” Miramon said. “I became an activist, a performer, an actor.”
The two were among the most strikingly clad, Miramon donning a rainbow flag handsewn into a blazer and ruby slippers. Both sported glow-stick necklaces and glitter-trimmed hats.
“We’re going to live louder than ever before,” Miramon said.
WERK for Peace and Disrupt J20 have planned protest events for every day of inauguration weekend, including blockades at inauguration entrances and exits.