Walking with Pride, with heads held high

The Northern Mosaic Network's 2nd annual Pride Parade attracted hundreds of people on the weekend

Participants in the 2nd annual Pride Parade turn off Franklin Avenue to head up 53rd Street on Sunday. (James O'Connor/CKLB.)

Hundreds of people from all walks of life celebrated the 2SLGBTQIPA+ community with floats, music, and pageantry through the streets of downtown Yellowknife on the weekend.

Approximately 350 people formed the 2nd annual Yellowknife Pride Parade through downtown on Sunday, as the sun came out after a couple of days of (welcome) rain and clouds.

Lindsay Lebassige speaks with a reporter from the back of a truck Sunday at the 2024 Pride Parade. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)

Lindsay Lebassige was sitting in the back of the Qmunity Camp NWT pickup truck decorated with hand-drawn signs, balloons and streamers. While a Pride Parade can be a lot of fun, there are also some darker themes underlying all the rainbow colours.

“There’s a significant level of violence and harm that’s done to LGBTQIA+ folks in the territory. And events like this are really important as we combat homophobia and transphobia in our communities, and we need allies, you know, we need allies to do our work,” Lebassige said.

“You see on our truck, we have a sign that says, “Be Gay do Crime” and more than allies we need accomplices to like tear down these settler colonial systems of oppression that are trying to erase our existence and our safety.”

The colourful and expressive 2024 Pride Parade makes its way down Franklin Avenue on Sunday afternoon. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)

Qmunity Camp NWT is located outside of the city on Ingraham Trail and was created as a joint project between NWT Creative Collective and the Northern Mosaic Network.

The latter organization strives to make the Northwest Territories home to loving, accepting and supportive communities for youth to thrive in their identities.

It organizes the annual Pride Parade, which was followed by a free barbecue at Somba K’e Park.

There were a half-dozen or so territorial politicians who dressed up and got out onto the streets to show support for the community.

Great Slave MLA Kate Reid Sunday during the 2024 Pride Parade. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)

Kate Reid is MLA for the riding of Great Slave in Yellowknife.

“I’ve been here for 35 years almost and last year’s Pride Parade was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen for the LGBTQ community here in town. And it was spectacular. And this year was spectacular as well.

“The weather probably had a little bit to do with it not being the bigger numbers, but it’s the same vibe. It’s a lot of love. And I think knowing that people feel comforted or comfortable to be themselves in our communities, the best possible feeling we can have today.

“I think we still have a way to go to make people feel fully solid, safe and welcomed. And these events obviously have a big part to play.”

Sunday’s parade and welcomed allies from outside the LGBTQ community. They are opportunities to show support, to observe, listen and be educated.

Cabinet minister and Yellowknife South MLA Caroline Wawzonek on Sunday during the 2024 Pride Parade. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)

YK school district No. 1 encouraged students and staff to walk in the parade, gathering near the decorated Mildred Hall School bus.

There was a small delegation from K’àlemì Dene School in N’Dilo. YK1 mandates Gender & Sexuality Alliance clubs in its schools.

Ashley Devau is a teacher at the K to 10 school.

“For us, it’s to recognize that our school participates by having a GSA and that it’s a priority amongst our school communities.

“I would say well, it is actually mandated that GSAs are part of school communities now because they save the lives of kids — all of the kids straight, gays, allies, trans kids — having a community that supports everybody to be themselves. It’s important for everybody.”

The summer of Pride continues with a golf tournament on June 14, a “speed friending” the day following and a Pride Paddle on June 25.

A full Yellowknife Pride Festival is planned in the city from August 6th to 11th, including a Pride weekend at the Folk on the Rocks site and the Rainbow Run on August 10.

Ashley Devau, a teacher at K’àlemì Dene School in N’Dilo, talks about the parade and it’s meaning. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)


There were plenty of canines in the 2024 Pride Parade in Yellowknife on Sunday. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)












NOTE: This story has been updated to correct a misspelled name.

About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: james.oconnor@cklbradio.com.