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We’re Dying to Crash Antarctica’s First Ever Pride Party

BRB, packing our rainbow parka!

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June is Pride Month, and celebrations are taking place in every corner of the world. And we do mean every corner: crew members at the McMurdo research station are throwing Antarctica’s first ever Pride party. McMurdo is the largest research station in Antarctica, and is located right on the edge of Ross Island.

One of the organizers, Evan Townsend said “It’s important to celebrate pride in the extreme places and the mundane. 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 research station can hold over 1,000 people during the summer, but when the off season comes the station is maintained by a crew of 133 people. This skeleton crew is responsible for maintaining vehicles and equipment, as well as various duties throughout the year that include clean-up, bartending, and maintaining the galley. Mark Volger, part of the maintenance team, talked about the queer community of 15 people at the station, saying “We don’t have to just go to the gay resorts. We can be open and out anywhere, and if that means being in minus 50-degree weather, I’m not the only gay there.”

Given the extremely harsh conditions of the terrain (currently the temperature is negative 5 degrees Fahrenheit with a negative 22 wind chill) and the loneliness that comes with living at the edge of the world, it’s vitally important that the crew members can be their authentic selves. Volger continued, saying “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 Pride party will happen on June 9th at a bar on the station, and will feature games and movies. Townsend is very excited for the continent’s first Pride, saying “Because of this, there’s enormous potential for us to shape the perception of the continent with something as simple as a pride event. Antarctica is already known as a place of discovery and exploration. We hope it will become known for inclusivity as well.”

(via Earther, image: Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.