It’s not exactly a secret that Vice President Mike Pence is anti-LGBTQ. His political career has been largely defined by anti-LGBTQ speeches, interviews, and legislation. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise when news broke earlier this week that his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence (aka “Mother”) is working at Immanuel Christian School, a northern Virginia school that bars anyone who is a part of or sympathizes with the LGBTQ community.
This is actually Pence’s return to Immanuel, where she taught all throughout husband Mike Pence’s tenure as a Congressman. But, ah, silver linings sure are beautiful, because now people are donating to the Matthew Shephard Foundation on behalf of Mother Pence.
According to the Huffington Post, the school says, via a parent agreement, it will refuse admission to “students who participate in or condone homosexual activities.” Further, those who apply for employment at Immanuel must “sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity or violate the ‘unique roles of male and female.'” Also forbidden are extramarital sex, “lesbian sexual activity” and polygamy. Further, for those who want to work at Pence’s school, they must not only believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, but that a woman’s role is inherently submissive to her husband. Immanuel considers any violations of this pledge “moral misconduct.”
Unsurprisingly, this has infuriated many, so the Matthew Shepard Foundation is capitalizing on the situation in the best way possible. The LGBTQ nonprofit was founded by the parents of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old gay man who was viciously beaten and left for dead in October 1998. The foundation’s mission is “to erase hate,” and they do so by funding outreach, education, and advocacy programs, such as Matthew’s Place, an online community that functions as a safe space for LGBTQ youth, and educator resources to make schools safer for LGBTQ youth.
The fundraising efforts are reminiscent of the 82,000 donations made in Mike Pence’s name to Planned Parenthood in the weeks after the 2016 election. And people are not only donating to the Matthew Shepard Foundation; there are also examples of people donating to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth. This is just another example of the power of social media when it comes to activist organizing.