Antarctica is set to celebrate its first ever gay pride event.
Evan Townsend and Shawn Waldron are among the group of 10 employees stationed at United States’ Antarctic research centre McMurdo Station who 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,” he said.
“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, but almost 900 people work at the base in the summer months.
Waldron said the specifics for their pride celebration are still in the works, but he said that it’ll likely include a gay bar night and movie night, and potentially a small parade around the station’s main building.
The group went outside in minus-14 degree temperatures
In April to take a photo of themselves holding up a rainbow flag, days before the South Pole enters 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.”
(Photo via Twitter)