Pride is back in Dawson City! Pride Week is happening from July 9–15 and, as part of the celebrations, a parade will be taking place on July 14 at 5 p.m. Pride Week, along with the pride parade, is organized by the Dawson City Pride Committee. Andy Pelletier is chair of the grassroots-level organization that focuses on planning events for all ages during Pride Week.
“We want to increase the visibility of LGBTQ2S+ folks, here in Dawson, and we see this as a very important step for queer or questioning Dawsonites—youth in particular,” writes Pelletier in an email. “We also want to make Dawson a place where LGBTQ2S+ folks feel they can visit, work or move. It all starts with visibility.”
Dawson local Kim Edgar organized Pride Week two years ago with help from a variety of locals. They formed the Dawson City Pride Committee, which now has about five or six committed members, with other members connecting with ideas online.
“We are pretty grassroots and I am just in the process of trying to formalize what we do and seek funds,” writes Pelletier. So far, the committee has been relying on donations. For Pride Week, the committee is looking for allies, meaning people who are not part of the LGBTQ2S+ spectrum, to volunteer.
“We also have a call out to businesses, organizations or individuals to plan events for Pride Week, such as a concert, BBQ, sidewalk sale, dinner or drink special, which we will promote as part of Dawson City Pride,” she writes.
The committee is also asking various groups to organize floats for the parade, to decorate their cars, bikes or trailers, and to be part of the parade as a staff, team or family. Pelletier also hopes that these events will attract new members to join the committee. The community of Dawson, says Pelletier, has shown lots of support to the committee in their efforts to promote visibility.
“The mayor has been a continuous supporter, even buying pizza for the participants of the parade,” she writes.
“Having the mayor and the city recognize us is validating. It makes a space for those of us who don’t always feel like we have one. It’s also fun!”
Pelletier says that, in future, they are hoping to locate funding to grow as an organization and hopefully branch into providing more education and awareness.
“We have been in talks with Tr’ondek Hwech’in and the women’s shelter about organizing an inter-agency gender workshop, in the fall, to educate Dawsonites about the gender binary and discuss inclusive practices for businesses and organizations surrounding non-binary, transgender, intersex, agendered and two-spirit folks,” she writes.
“It means that community members and visitors will see that we are here and we can help give input on community issues and advocate from the queer perspective.”