In honor of Pride Month, Yosemite National Park organized a long list of activities for the public as well as its employees to enjoy, as well as learn from, for Yosemite Pride 2023. These include a variety of hikes of all levels, lectures from a list of notable figures, and a bunch of fun gatherings where you can make art, see performances, and overall enjoy the company of others while celebrating the LGBTQ community. Yosemite Pride kicked off on June 1st and ran through the 10th.
“It is such a treat that I get to celebrate Pride Month in the most magical space in the world! It is so important that we take the time to celebrate our various identities and spread awareness.” says an individual who was incredibly pleased to have participated in some of the events thus far.
Event attendees were able to make tie die shirts, hike notable spots around the park, participate in the Pride March, sing karaoke, engage a list of breakout groups, and experience a diverse array of incredible presentations on equally diverse topics.
One event attendee and newcomer to the ranks of Yosemite faculty, had a beautiful reflection that he shared with the times about his experience this last weekend: “Having just arrived in Yosemite earlier in the week as a new employee, the group hike to OMG Point held during Pride Month seemed a perfect fit to attend. The event couldn’t have been more welcoming. I had worries prior to being in Yosemite that the LGBT community would be small and quiet, yet I quickly found it to be the opposite. Our group soldiered up the switchbacks of Upper Falls trail, making jokes and learning about each other – specifically what had brought us all to Yosemite. Rock climbers, former seasonal Alaskan workers, Shakespearean performers, and an archeologist made up our crew of folk as we pushed upward to the iconic viewpoint. Staring down the hundreds of feet toward the crashing water of Lower Falls was meditative — enough to bring one into a complete state of awe. Though just as the view started to become mundane, Oh My Gosh Point surprised us again as hail started falling—pelting our group as we headed away from the ledge. Shaking under the refuge of tree cover, we made our descent back down to the Valley floor. Laughing off our bad, or perhaps perfect luck, we exchanged numbers in hopes of connecting again. The entire hike cements a few realities for me: Yosemite seems flush with moments you just have to take them, community isn’t a given it has to be fostered and supported constantly, and hail feels particularly good as it smacks the back of your neck at the crux of a six-mile hike.”
The first speaker of the series was Frank Magnasco, who spoke about Charley Parkhurst and the Trans History in Yosemite. The following evening was Nylah Smith’s turn, who led a discussion on the topic of Queer Black and Indigenous History. After that, Wawona welcomed Dr. Peter Robinson who used their time to talk about Allyship and all that encompasses it. Up next was Outdoor Asian, to discuss Nature as a healing space for queer Asian folks at the Valley Auditorium. Finishing off on June 10 with Connie Lau, who spoke about Queer Ecology in the same venue.
Another park employee and one of many Pride event planners, Shannon, had this to say about the event to the Times: “Yosemite Pride is a multi-organizational effort to both recognize and increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and intersectionality within Yosemite National Park. I am personally very excited that these Pride Hikes were able to happen because they offered both recognition and a chance to represent our community that we are and have been present in our National Parks, as well as a unique opportunity to explore our Nation Parks in ways that many members of our community do not always have access to.”