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What’s the best way to protest a Mike Pence visit? A big gay disco, obviously

Emma Powys Maurice September 5, 2019

Activist groups invited Pence to a gay disco outside Ireland's main legislative building, but he did not attend (Nick Bradshaw)

Irish civil rights groups left Mike Pence in no doubt about what Ireland thinks of him by staging a gay disco outside the parliamentary building during his state visit.

Members of Amnesty International, Dublin LGBTQ Pride, the Irish Refugee Council and other activist groups held a ‘Disco at the Dáil’ on September 3, coinciding with the US vice president’s meetings with government officials.

Participants waved rainbow flags, wore masks with Pence’s face and danced to music by RuPaul and The Village People.

Amnesty International said the event was “a celebration of the people that Pence and Trump’s cruel policies discriminate against”, designed to show Pence “that he can’t go back to the USA and say there is any support for his policies here”.

He doesn’t get to accept Irish values if he’s not prepared to listen to what Ireland has to say to him right now.

It added: “Trump and Pence have spear-headed policies that target refugees and migrants, women, LGBTI people, amongst so many others, as well as pushing climate change denial and dangerous rhetoric against journalists and anyone who opposes them.”

During his visit to Ireland, Pence repeatedly harked back to his Irish heritage and spoke frequently of his Sligo-born grandfather.

But Amnesty International’s executive director in Ireland, Colm O Gorman, said: “He doesn’t get to accept Irish values if he’s not prepared to listen to what Ireland has to say to him right now.”

Mike Pence was invited to join the gay disco but unsurprisingly did not attend.

The disco was timed to coincide with Mike Pence’s visit (Nick Bradshaw)

Trump administration uses Ireland visit to prove Mike Pence is not “anti-gay”.

The vice president, who is notorious for his “toxic” views on LGBT+ rights, met with the openly gay Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner.

The White House’s deputy press secretary, Judd Deer, tried to claim that Pence couldn’t be anti-gay because he and his wife had lunch with the couple.

He made the comment in what one Twitter user described as “the dumbest tweet out of an already incredibly pathetic comms office”.

This was quickly shot down by Chasten Buttigieg, husband of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who pointed out that dining with a gay man doesn’t mean you’re any less homophobic.

He said: “I’ve sat at tables with people who would gladly deny me the right to marry, who openly support conversion therapy, and who adamantly believe being gay is a choice. Doesn’t mean they’re any less homophobic because we shared a meal.”

Pence and Varadkar at Farmleigh House on September 3, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Pool/Getty)

Varadkar previously spoke with Pence at a closed-door meeting in 2018, where he reportedly spoke privately with the vice president about LGBT+ equality and women’s rights.

Unfortunately, Pence’s strongly ‘homophobic’ track record from the past few months alone indicates that the meeting did not change his mind.

 

 

More: amnesty international, Ireland, Leo Varadkar, Mike Pence, republic of ireland

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