Erin Bailey: Young, woke, and bisexual
Bailey appeared in the news when she organized a Pride Parade in the hometown of the notoriously anti-LGBTQ Vice President Mike Pence.
A student versus the US vice president: talk about a regular David versus Goliath, yes?
Erin Bailey’s fight for the LGBTQ community
The 18-year old Bailey organized the first Pride festival in the hometown of Pence in Columbus, Indiana as part of her senior year assignment at the Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High SChool.
She said she came up with the idea after after attending the Pride film festival in nearby Bloomington: “(A)nd the fact that it’s Mike Pence’s hometown made it even more perfect.”
She explained that her school project is supposed to benefit the community, leading her to think that a Pride festival would support the LGBTQ people in the city.
“I was thinking, What do we don’t have in Columbus that we need? I’m very passionated about reproductive rights and LGBT rights, so I thought: I should do an LGBT festival!” she told Refinery29 website.
However, she made it clear that this festival isn’t about Pence– it’s for the LGBTQ community.
Erin Bailey: Growing up in Pence town
Bailey also said that she’s aware of the US Veep’s reputation and support of anti-LGBTQ policies, and thought that outsiders might think the people of Columbus city felt the same.
“Maybe Mike Pence can see from this festival, taking place where he grew up, that we don’t agree with [his stance on LGBTQ+ issues] — so he should listen to us,” she said.
While Pence hasn’t said anything directly about it, his spokesperson, Alyssa Farah, told the Indianapolis Star: “”Vice President Pence commends Erin Bailey for her activism and engagement in the civic process.”
Erin Bailey: Speaking out in openness
Bailey has identified herself as a bisexual and a progressive. Growing up in Columbus, she saw it was hard for people to talk about LGBTQ issues, always speaking in “hush-hush tones.”
She explained that with this festival, she hopes the greater community will feel more open to discuss LGBTQ issues while also inspiring other queer teens.
“I think it’s going to be really beneficial. It will be a gateway for other members of the LGBTQ community– younger ones– to see they can do anything they put their minds to,” Bailey said.
She also shrugged off the haters with the wisdom of someone older: “I just don’t pay attention to the comments anymore. And I’m in high school. Don’t they have anything better to do?”
“We’re the future and it’s very important for us to be able to speak up. We’re the ones showing everyone this is what we believe and we’re not backing down,” she said.