A group of ten LGBTI people working on Antarctica, decided to celebrate the first Pride at the South Pole.
The ten people are working on the United States’ McMurdo Station about 850 miles (1368kms) from the South Pole.,’
The group decided to take a photo with the rainbow flag ahead of June’s Pride month. By June, the continent is shrouded in darkness 24 hours a day. So the group had to get the photo before then.
‘Why not take this photo and let people see that there’s queer representation—even at the end of the earth,’ Shawn Waldron told New Now Next.
The LGBTI workers at the Station host queer events every couple of weeks. They plan to hold a bigger and official Pride event in June.
Evan Townsend works in the Station’s galley. He wanted to photograph the flag on Antarctica to show younger LGBTI people they can go anywhere in the world.
‘There was nobody I could look to and say, “Oh, that’s what I can do,” because even for me, the idea of traveling alone was such a distant concept,’ he said.
‘So just 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.’
Currently, there are about 133 people living at McMurdo Station. But that number will grow in the summer (October to the end of February) to about 900 people.
LGBTI people feel comfortable being themselves on the station and they always seem to find each other to connect.
‘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,’ Waldron said.
The first rainbow flag on Antarctica
In March 2016, advocacy group, Planting Peace, named Antarctica the world’s ‘first LGBT-friendly continent’.
Its president, Aaron Jackson, travelled around the continent with the rainbow Pride flag in 2016.
‘I travelled to Antarctica to play a role in spreading visibility for the need for basic human rights for the LGBT community,’ he said at the time.
‘It was an honor to carry the Pride flag throughout Antarctica, and Planting Peace will not stop fighting for LGBT rights until all sexual and gender minorities experience full, fundamental rights in every corner of the world.’