Antarctica Gay Pride event is first, unless the penguins…


Antarctica gay pride

The Antarctica gay pride event scheduled for this June will undoubtedly be the first celebration of pride on the continent.

Unless, of course, some of those gay penguins already put something on.

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Evan Townsend and Shawn Waldron are among the group of 10 employees at United States’ Antarctic research centre McMurdo Station. They will organise the pride celebration in June.

Townsend told NewNowNext he “found a group pretty immediately” upon arriving at McMurdo Station, located around 1,400 kilometres from the South Pole.

“We had a few LGBTQ social events that people showed up to, and also, because it’s such a small community, it’s easy to find out who is and who isn’t in the LGBTQ community.

“My biggest fear before I left was, ‘I’m going to be the only gay person, there’s going to be no one else here’. I was wrong.”

There are currently only 133 people stationed at McMurdo for the winter. However, almost 900 people work at the base in the summer months.

Waldron said the specifics for their pride celebration are still in the works. However plans already include a gay bar night and movie night. Potentially, participants may even mount a small parade around the station’s main building.

Four months of darkness

The group went outside in minus-14 degree temperatures in April. They took a photo of themselves holding up a rainbow flag then, days before the South Pole entered four months of darkness.

“Why not take this photo and let people see that there’s queer representation – even at the end of the earth?” Waldron said.

“We may be thousands of miles away from any major celebration, but we can do something.”

Townsend said, “Having an example of somebody who travels and can have those adventures would’ve been a great thing for me as a kid.

“But even more so being able to see that there are queer people out there who are proud of their queerness and that in no way inhibits them from living these adventures.”

The rainbow flag was raised on Antarctica for the first time in 2016 when activists from Planting Peace planted a flag there and declared Antarctica “the world’s first LGBT-friendly continent.”

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