Pride marchers will be parading down Whitehorse’s Millennium Trail this weekend as part of a month-long celebration of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the Yukon.
The march is set to take place starting at the Healing Totem at noon on Aug. 20. It will culminate in a gathering consisting of a barbeque, music and more at Shipyard’s Park.
The Queer Yukon Society is organizing the event.
Communications manager Mira Sirois said the parade will be operating at a lower capacity than in the past. They said “organizational challenges” have translated into a scaled-down event this month instead of in line with other Pride organizations across the country that held events in June.
Sirois said these kinds of places and events provide a space for people to get together as a whole.
“It’s easy to be isolated in this community, and to not feel like you have a space where you can go,” Sirois said.
“That’s kind of what’s most important here is just to have a place for community to meet community and to be less isolated.”
Sirois said the decision to ban uniformed RCMP, members of the police force who are part of an organized police presence and police-related symbols from the parade and all elements of the festival was made in 2020 after community consultation and a unanimous board decision at the time.
“This is not something that we do lightly,” they said.
Sirois said it was a decision made in solidarity with other activist groups.
“Policing has always had a tenuous relationship with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community,” they said, adding that there’s a “very obvious and clear history of violence and marginalization.”
“Pride started as a protest against police violence.”
The Library of Congress notes the first Pride marches were held in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago on June 28, 1970, the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which marked police raiding a gay bar (not for the first time) and a series of events over six days between police and protesters.
“We want to respect the folk who have lived through that time, who carry generational trauma, because symbols have power,” Sirois said.
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