About 200 protesters shimmied and sashayed their way through the Chevy Chase neighborhood Wednesday night toward the house temporarily rented by Vice President-elect Mike Pence to protest what they consider his anti-gay views.
The group, which gathered for a “Queer Dance Party,” convened at the Friendship Heights Metro station around 6 p.m. and, blasting Beyoncé and other up-tempo tunes, danced its way to the house Pence has been renting until he moves into the Naval Observatory after the inauguration.
“Dance is so integral to the queer community as a form of self-expression and a form of asserting our power and our beauty and our love for one another,” said Firas Nasr, 23, a protest organizer who lives in Virginia. “The idea is to leave a mark that Mike Pence will never forget.”
“We want to send a strong message to Pence that we’re a united queer community,” he said, above the pulsing sounds of Michael Jackson and Madonna. “We’ve always stood united. There’s always space to dance.”
Throwing glitter and waving glow sticks and rainbow flags, the protesters gathered at Western Avenue and Tennyson Street NW and danced in the street. By 8 p.m. many in the crowd swayed in unison and sang along as Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” blared from a pair of two-foot-tall speakers.
Residents from the normally quiet, leafy streets came out of their homes to watch the display.
“I love this,” said Mary Ann Carmody, 76, who lives in the neighborhood with her husband, John, 80. “I love the world. It’s wonderful to see people on the street like this. We’re lucky we can do this.”
One man trying to walk his dog seemed frustrated by the disco scene playing out before him.
The protesters were kept several blocks away from Pence’s rental house. It was unclear if he was home or aware of the event.
As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law allowing business owners to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender customers — legislation that sparked a national uproar and threats of boycotts until the legislature reversed course.
Pence’s temporary neighbors in the liberal enclave of Chevy Chase have been flying hundreds of gay pride rainbow flags as a silent protest since he moved into the neighborhood in November.
Cait and Mare Zogby, a married gay couple, brought their 6-week-old twins, Benjamin and Mary Eileen. The family lives in the Palisades neighborhood. The women said they couldn’t make it to the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday so they chose the dance protest.
“I’m overwhelmingly proud of this neighborhood,” said Mare Zogby, who grew up in the neighborhood. “We’re here as parents of these babies.”
The party began to disband around 8:30 p.m., with protesters dancing their way back to the Metro station, as several homeowners stood outside and cheered them.