By Leigh Armstrong
The 200 people who came out for Skagway’s first event of Pride Month on June 1 far outnumbered the turnout at the town’s first such march in 1992.
“There were five of us marching down Broadway, no signs, just pride, due to the general lack of feeling safe being out in town,” said Julie Ackerman, a former resident of Skagway.
Though the sky was dreary, the winds strong and the drizzle near constant, members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters started this year’s event with a bike parade and headed out to Seventh Pasture for music and a celebration.
The event was the idea of Hailee Sue Huggans, who lives in town about three-quarters of the year. Last year, she and a friend noticed a lack of events during Pride Month and decided 2019 would be different.
“I felt that our sweet town was lacking a Pride event,” Huggans said.
She called it GLAMM, standing for Give Love and Make Moves, in reference to pushing forward a pro-LGBTQ environment of acceptance in Skagway. “I wanted to create something unique and different to Skagway.”
Part of Huggans’ plan was to focus on inclusivity. She wanted people to interact and talk.
The event kicked off with a colorful bike parade starting at Second Avenue and going to Seventh Pasture. Participants were encouraged to decorate their bikes with rainbow and Pride designs, with Huggans handing out rainbow flags to everyone.
“There are a lot parades here in Skagway, but not everyone owns a car. With a bike parade, anyone can be a part,” she said.
The event included music by local artists, as well as live painting by Kate Kolodi where she used charcoal to demonstrate her creation process at the event, and free face painting by Autumn Roseberry to anyone who wanted to add some color.
Huggans drew inspiration from other Pride events she’s attended in Utah, while seeking to make it comfortable for anyone. “The town needed a day of love,” she said.
Huggans said she has heard that it helped give a people a different viewpoint.
“I think it’s helped some people with their own sexuality,” she said. “They’ve come to me and said that they were so happy to meet people who are going through some of the same things that they are.”