Glen Pannell wears a suit and booty shorts while impersonating the gay conversion therapy-supporting, LGBT program-cutting future vice-president
Mike Pence is the vice-president elect who’s spearheading an anti-LGBT, anti-women shitstorm hurtling towards the sun with pal Donald Trump. As the Indiana Governor, he’s ok-ed laws that majorly limit abortion access and police the surrounding process. He’s also shown support for horrific, immoral gay conversion therapy, and cut funding for HIV/Aids programs.
Meet Mike Hot-Pence, a mirror image of the Republican politician but with a complete opposite moral spectrum. Hot-Pence is out patrolling New York’s Times Square, in suit and short shorts, to raise money for causes that his evil state-serving twin has damaged.
“My sister was the first person to call out the likeness,” Mike Hot-Pence, real name Glen Pannell, tells Dazed. “That was this past summer right after the RNC convention. It started to snowball after that as his profile in the media rose. More and more friends and co-workers started telling me that I looked like Pence.”
Explaining his crusading character’s birth, he says: “Mike Hot-Pence started as a Halloween costume. I was headed down to Greenwich Village to meet friends on Halloween night and that neighbourhood is the heart of costume craziness and creativity. A friend suggested I dress up as Pence – and other friends chimed in and agreed on Facebook – but that didn’t seem funny or original to me. I wanted a twist. So I came up with a Sexy Mike Pence costume that combined a conservative upper half and a sassy lower half. That was the birth of Mike Hot-Pence.”
In the wake of the horrendous election, 51-year-old, proudly gay Pannell began to collect donations on the streets of Manhattan for charities that would help eradicate the hurt the incoming Trump presidency is likely to cause. So far, he’s raised funds for Planned Parenthood, LGBT organisation The Trevor Project and The Natural Resources Defense Council.
“We don’t have to imagine how women’s health and the environment and the LGBTQ community and refugees will suffer under the incoming administration,” he observes. “This isn’t speculation. Mike Pence has a voting record on these issues from the last 16 years and it scares me.”
Next, he tells Dazed, he will go out again to raise money for the International Refugee Assistance Project. So far, he’s raised over $2k for the various groups, and updates his Twitter with the huge donation amounts he collects. He also plans to explore the works of other charities that need funding, intending to brave the change in weather. “Temperature is dropping and snow is on the way – I may need to weather-proof my shorts.”
Public opinion towards Mike Hot-Pence has been pretty positive, Pannell says. “People love the costume and the name. They want to give and they want to talk. It almost feels therapeutic, both for me and for them. There have been haters but they’re easy to ignore.”
Amid despair, distress and disillusionment, it’s Mike Hot-Pence that’s a shining light, compared to a governor who actively excludes, divides, and denies. He affirms: “He’s a public servant. Serve the public. The whole public.”