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Antarctica Is Hosting Its First Pride Celebration This Month

Antarctica is joining the world in celebrating its first ever Pride celebration…
 
This month, Antarctica is joining the world in celebrating Pride, bringing the rainbow flag where few have trekked before. A group of around 15 LGBT employees stationed at the McMurdo station will host the celebration, which is set to kick off June 9th.
 
Despite Antarctica moving into its winter (meaning an extended period from June until September of constant darkness), the small, but dedicated LGBT community on the continent will commence the festivities on a bar at McMurdo station, which will feature games and movies. Ten of the 15 LGBT members of McMurdo even posed for a photo supporting a rainbow flag in April, to prepare for the months’ long darkness.
 
The Pride celebration was planned by two of the station’s employees, Shawn Waldron and Evan Townsend, after human rights group, Planting Peace, declared the icy landmass as the first “LGBT-friendly continent,” back in March 2016. Townsend wrote in an email to Earther:
 
“Every person who celebrates is another example of who queer people are and what we can do. It’s a chance to remind the world, and ourselves, that our potential is limitless and is in no way inhibited by our sexuality or gender identity.”
 
The employees at McMurdo station spend most of their time working in some dangerous conditions, where the fear of death surrounds their everyday lives. During winter, Antarctica sees an average temperature of -22 Celsius, with the wind chill dropping the climate to -30.
 
Mark Volger, a member of the station’s maintenance team at McMurdo, stated:
 
“It’s hard, coupled with the weather and just the conditions and isolation… It’s nice to have a place you can truly be yourself, talk about your boyfriend, girlfriend, or husband and wife; with peers.”
 
The group is hoping that the celebration will act as a catalyst to bring LGBT rights to all corners of the world. Townsend said that having a positive representation in such a remote location is inspirational to younger generations, also mentioning:
 
“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.”
 
McMurdo is the largest research station in Antarctica and is located on the southern point of Ross Island. During the summer months, the location holds around 900 people, with the number dropping to a staggering 133 during the winter months.
 

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