For the past year, “Gaycation” hosts Ellen Page and Ian Daniel have explored LGBTQ issues on a global scale. While they have traveled from Jamaica to Japan, their upcoming special has brought their exploration closer to home. “Gaycation Presents: United We Stand” brings the focus back to the U.S. -- specifically in the days leading up to and following President Trump’s inauguration.
But in lieu of focusing on the president himself, the Viceland special zeroes in on LGBTQ activism in Trump's America and on Vice President Mike Pence, who was formerly the governor of Indiana.
"How trans people have been affected and the conversations around Planned Parenthood -- that's all stuff that started in Indiana," Page told NBC Out when asked why the team decided to focus on Pence.
Daniel cited Pence as being the reason "the hardcore conservative movement made its way into the White House."
“There’s a conversation around how much influence does a vice president have, and Mike Pence does have a lot of influence," he said.
A few days before Trump took the oath of office, Page and Daniel embarked on their Washington, D.C. adventure. They met with protesters, attended the Women's March, watched the rioting after Trump’s inauguration and even attended the pro-Trump "Deploraball" party.
Page described Inauguration Day as "not a joyous feeling" and contrasted that with the energy she observed in the nation's capital the following day.
"The most amazing switch was waking up the next day and heading to the Woman’s March," she said. "The amount of people just all walking in the same direction was pretty unbelievable to witness, and I feel so fortunate to have been there that day."
Protesters, Trump supporters and activists all spoke to Page and Daniel about their hopes, fears and plans under the Trump's administration. Throughout many of their conversations with LGBTQ people, however, concerns about Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ record was a common theme.
“In the short time Trump has been in office, Mike Pence has shown a capability of immense influence,” Page says during the special, which will air on Viceland this Sunday, April 30.
For a look into Pence’s past, “Gaycation” goes to Indiana, where Pence served as governor from 2013 until he became vice president. There, Page and Daniel spoke to politicians, a legal expert and young members of the LGBTQ community.
“We went to this Indiana youth group, and that sort of thing didn’t exist when I was young, so it is super powerful to hear all of these young kids have this supportive, safe space. They have already lived through so much; they are really a symbol for how change is made,” Daniel shared.
The trip was particularly emotional for Daniel, who was raised in Indiana During the special, viewers get a glimpse into his life and time growing up in the state.
“I’m happy to share my life with people, because I’m asking people to do that on the show constantly, and I think it’s important that I share my story as well," he added.
As Trump approaches his 100th day in office, Daniel said it's still unclear what his presidency will mean for the LGBTQ community -- and America as a whole.
Traveling around the globe, he said he has seen how progress for the LGBTQ community can be rolled back. “There’s a setback, people go back into the closet, and people are violated because they have come out of the closet,” Daniel said. “Sometimes I’m afraid that that’s possible in our country.”