Skating with pride, for Pride

Pride Skate provides a platform for marginalized skaters

The second annual Pride Skate event will provide a much needed space for 2SLGBTQIA+ skateboarders in Winnipeg.

Carson Carey (Supplied)

Many queer people have, at some point or another, struggled to fit in. 2SLGBTQIA+ folks who encounter obstacles or discrimination in communities and subcultures often need to carve out spaces and events for themselves. That’s where Pride Skate comes in.

Co-organized by The Other Skaters and Crowbar Skates, the second annual Pride Skate event is on Saturday, May 27 at Sargent Park Skatepark from 1 to 4 p.m. It is an inclusive event for underrepresented skateboarders to join forces and create space for themselves. 

The Other Skaters is a local organization that promotes inclusion and support for people who have historically been excluded or underrepresented in skateboarding spaces. They highlight and advocate for non-traditional skaters, including queer, women and nonbinary skateboarders.

“Our slogan is building community through skateboarding,” Maddy Nowosad, co-creator of The Other Skaters, says.  

The organization formed to combat the views international megachurch Youth For Christ (YFC) imposes on The Edge, Winnipeg’s only indoor skatepark. YFC’s exclusion of 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the park has created discomfort and safety concerns for community members. 

The group has since cut all contact with The Edge and is working toward a new indoor skate space through a petition and GoFundMe partnered with Manitoba Skateboarding Coalition. 

The Other Skaters and Crowbar Skates, another local 2SLGBTQ+ skateboard group, partnered to create Pride Skate, which will have ice cream, sidewalk chalk, music and vendors. Nowosad emphasizes that all are welcome – including wheels of all kinds or none at all. 

“The goal is basically just to provide a safe and fun environment for people to take up space in a skatepark and in a space that they otherwise may not feel super comfortable or safe to do that,” she says. 

The day will be a time for celebration, support and good vibes. It’s one of many Pride Winnipeg events, running from May 26 to June 4. 

Following Pride Skate, The Other Skaters are also working on their second annual Next Gen Sunday Skate Sessions throughout the summer. The group has partnered with Sk8 Skates, a local skate shop, and Vans Canada to give skateboarding lessons to beginner and advanced girls, femmes and nonbinary youth under 18. Lessons are run by women and nonbinary skaters. The goal is to reduce gender-based barriers to accessing parks safely and establish a supportive environment. 

Nowosad hopes The Other Skaters will encourage more people to get into skateboarding. One of their main goals is to build more connections with people and continue to grow their diverse community. 

“It’s nice to see how skateboarding can bring a lot of different people with a lot of different interests together,” she says.

Pride Skate will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sargent Park Skatepark (999 Sargent Ave.) on Saturday, May 27. Admission is free, as is the ice cream. All ages, skill levels and types of wheels are welcome.

Published in Volume 77, Number 25 of The Uniter (May 9, 2023)

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