Dawson prepares to celebrate Pride

Each year on July 14, the rainbow flag flies at the city hall in Dawson. The timing is a bit unusual, given that Pride celebrations are held around the world in June.

Each year on July 14, the rainbow flag flies at the city hall in Dawson.

The timing is a bit unusual, given that Pride celebrations are held around the world in June. But the date was chosen in honour of July 14, 2004, when the Yukon became the fourth jurisdiction in Canada to legalize same-sex marriage after a lawsuit brought by Rob Edge and Stephen Dunbar.

And this Thursday, Dawson is kicking it up a notch.

Kim Edgar is organizing the first Pride parade Dawson has seen in nearly a decade.

She got the idea after talking to a friend who works at a women’s shelter in town and realizing that Dawson doesn’t really have an advocacy group for queer or trans issues, she said.

She decided that organizing a Pride parade would be a step in the right direction.

“It’s about visibility, it’s about making the streets feel comfortable for people who are otherwise marginalized and it’s about pride,” she said.

The parade on Thursday will be a fairly low-key event. People will gather at Victory Gardens at 5:30 p.m. and walk to City Hall, where they’ll be met with pizza and snacks.

A few groups have planned floats for the parade, including the League of Lady Wrestlers, who are aiming for a ring with two women wrestling. The Westminster Hotel is also planning a float and will be hosting a Pride party that night.

“I’ve never planned a parade before, so I’m keeping it very simple for myself right now,” Edgar said. “I think as long as there are people and we’re walking and we’re visible … I think that’s the key for me.”

Edgar stressed that Dawson is an inclusive town with an active LGBTQ culture. She said when she started organizing the event, some people questioned whether Dawson really needs a Pride parade. But she believes Pride can help teach people about sexuality and gender identity – it’s not just about fighting discrimination.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a protest in Dawson in the same way. It’s not an angry thing. It’s more just a celebration of pride. Because homophobia and transphobia tell us that we shouldn’t be proud of who we are, we should be ashamed. And so it’s sort of radical to be proud,” she said.

“And it doesn’t mean that the town’s not accepting. It’s a very accepting town.”

Dawson City Mayor Wayne Potoroka said he’s been waiting for someone like Edgar to create an event like this to celebrate Pride. On July 14 last year, he offered pizza at City Hall, but “not a whole pile of people showed up,” he said.

“I think there’s a value in celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQ community and again reaffirming our town’s commitment to equality,” he said.

He hopes the event will help young people questioning their sexuality or identity to feel comfortable in the community.

“In the Klondike, we have a good history of personal freedoms and diversity and this is one way to celebrate that,” he said.

This isn’t the first Pride parade in Dawson’s history. There was a small parade around 2008, Edgar said, but there haven’t been any others since then.

“I really think it’s just nobody has been able to organize it,” she said. “It’s a town full of extremely civically engaged volunteers. So I think that people just haven’t had the time.”

She said she’d like to organize another parade next year. And she hopes that Dawson may eventually have its own Pride group, which could help to educate people about the ever-shifting landscape of gender identity.

“The possibilities of gender non-conforming and trans individuals and the ways they can identify and how to treat them with respect has evolved so much in the past five years alone,” she said. “I can understand how people who maybe don’t go on the internet a lot don’t know how to keep up with that.

“So I think it’s important to have advocacy for those people.”

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read