This gay guy dresses up as Mike Pence and collects money for LGBT+ charities and honestly, give him a Nobel Peace Prize
A gay guy has been doing laps around New York City collecting donations for LGBT+, pro-choice and refugee charities dressed as US vice president Mike Pence.
Yup, you read that right.
Nicknamed ‘Mike Hot-Pence’, he’s been spotted in Times Square and Union Square and went viral last week after being papped by a passerby.
Donned in a full suit but tight blue short shorts, he carries around a small tub collecting loose change from commuters.
‘Times Square icon’.
After arts administrator Howard Sherman snapped a photo of the Pence lookalike, he posted it to his Facebook page in an effort to identify him.
Today in "Times Square Weirdness," my continuing series: he's Mike Hot-Pence and he's collecting funds to support…
Amid dozens of ‘Never change, NYC’ comments, the guy was later identified by vigilant New Yorkers as Glen Pannell.
Shortly after, Sherman interviewed Hot-Pence/Pannell, dubbing him a “Times Square icon”. He even asked Pannell what he would say to Pence if he was to ever meet him.
“Just one? I’ll keep it short,” he said.
“You have to represent all people, not just the ones that look like you. And me.”
So, who is Mike Hot-Pence?
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Pannell, a 51-year-old graphic designer and freelance actor, explained that the election result of 2017 dragged him down.
“So, I finally decided I had to do something,” he said, “and it had to be bold and immediate, something I could point to at the end of the day and say: ‘Here’s what I did to make change’.”
For years, Pannell has donned his Pence outfit and taken to the streets of New York City to collect money. In keeping his top half “pure Pence”, Pannell finished his look with a pair of vintage athletic shorts from his high-school days.
Family and friends first noticed Pannell’s resemblance to the vice president, wondering if he was going to go as Pence for Halloween.
“I have family in Indiana so I knew that Pence was governor,” Pannell told Sherman.
“But it wasn’t until he signed the anti-gay Religious Freedom Bill last year that I really started paying attention to him.
“I’m gay so that made me sit up and take notice. And it’s those kinds of policy decisions that are energizing my activism now.”
From National Coming Out Day to NYC Pride, Pannell accessorises his suit with rainbow ties and pocket squares to raise money for the Trevor Project a suicide prevention charity for LGBT+ youth.
My favorite detail in this Stonewall selfie is the fist raised up center. Love and resistance, baby! I ended a looooong weekend with $648 for @TrevorProject: $423 in my can and $225 at my CrowdRise page for Trevor. My feet are aching but my heart is bursting. Thanks to all! pic.twitter.com/w5fkLvZk63
— Mike Hot-Pence (@MikeHotPence) July 2, 2019
Hey NYC! I’ll be out shaking my can tomorrow 10/11 collecting $$$ for Trevor Project in celebration of #NationalComingOutDay. Come find me in front of Big Gay Ice Cream in Greenwich Village corner of Grove and 7th Ave South 3pm-6pm. Hot-Pence meets cold treats, the perfect combo! pic.twitter.com/Advbr4DZoa
— Mike Hot-Pence (@MikeHotPence) October 10, 2019
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He also told the outlet that he has shaken buckets for Planned Parenthood, the Natural Defence Council and the International Refugee Assistance Project.
“These are all groups and causes that suffered when Pence was in office, so I worry about them in the next few years under a Trump-Pence administration,” the 51-year-old said.
I had never thought of them as ‘hot pants’, but Mike Hot-Pence rocks that look.
“I never expect anything I do to go viral online,” he explained.
“I do understand why people respond to it. It’s funny, and it’s hopeful, and people need that right now.”