By Marit Gookin, Staff Writer
In many locations across the country and around the globe, June is celebrated as Pride month by the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, marking the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. Here in Fremont County, Wind River Pride, an all-volunteer grassroots organization, will also be celebrating all month long with events in both Lander and Riverton.
The first event of the month will be a creative writing centered event called Queers with Quills, to be held on Tuesday, June 6, at 7 p.m. at the Lander Art Center (LAC). This event will replace LAC’s usual Tuesday Literary Rug poetry event, and according to Annelise Wright of Wind River Pride, it is open to all forms of writing, including poetry, short stories, personal accounts, and things which are incomplete or unpolished.
“It’s just a space for people to use their voice and sharing things that they’ve created,” Wright said. Wind River Pride also plans to have snacks and drinks available for attendees.
While the group has held Pride events in Riverton in the past, the Riverton events dropped off for a few years during COVID. This year, however, the second out of four events throughout the month will be held at the Riverton Branch Library – a film screening on June 14.
“Being Wind River Pride, we’ve tried really hard to not just be Lander-centric,” Wright noted. “We’re really excited to be in Riverton.” The film screening will show two movies: The classic 1990 LGBTQ+ documentary “Paris is Burning” and “Wild Hood,” a film about two LGBTQ+ Indigenous brothers reconnecting with each other and their culture.
“We wanted something that was a more classic historical Pride, and then something that brought us to the present and was relevant to the cultures that are local here,” Wright explained.
Pride month will wrap up with Wind River Pride’s annual drag show and picnic in Jaycee Park and Lander City Park on June 17 and 18 respectively, at which attendees may expect to see a film crew; a new production company helmed by AJ Gold plans to be at the picnic to include Fremont County’s Pride celebrations in an upcoming documentary about the LGBTQ+ community in Wyoming.
Gold’s documentary isn’t the only way that Wind River Pride is connecting to the rest of the Wyoming. Wright explained that Wyoming Equality, a 501c3 organization, has worked hard to help link up various grassroots organizations throughout the state.
“They are actively trying to give resources to the queer groups around Wyoming,” she remarked, “trying to be that connection point.” Wyoming Equality has helped organizations beyond just communication; as a 501c3, it also has access to insurance that groups like Wind River Pride don’t, and it also offers educational opportunities such as a seminar on how to have a safe event and coordinate with security such as police departments.
Wind River Pride is already looking beyond the month of June into the rest of the year. Also coming up in the near future, with the help of funding from the LOR Foundation, will be an expansion to offer two queer cohorts – one for youth and one for adults – who will meet once a month to talk, work on crafts, and engage in other community-building activities.
“Our main access point into Wind River Pride right now is through organizing, and not everybody has time for that, or the resources,” Wright said. “[We want] to have space for folks to really have community.”
June is looking to be a busy month for Wind River Pride, and the organization welcomes anyone who wants to volunteer to help. It can be contacted via its email address, email@example.com, Facebook page, Wind River Pride, or Instagram account, @windriverpride, or people can sign up to volunteer at https://portal.goldenvolunteer.com/organizations/org-bR6iBOw2pr.