A crowd of about 50 people, decked out in sparkly bright wigs, danced around on skis and snowboards at the top of the Shoshone Lift at Grand Targhee Resort over the weekend waving colorful Pride, transgender and genderqueer flags.
It was the first LGBTQ+ “Rainbow Run” in the area.
The group headed down the mountain to the sounds of Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” blasting from a skier’s portable speaker.
The crew gathered at the base to get ready for another run. Other skiers passed by, cheering and dancing to “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.
“I’m feeling pretty gay,” said a couple of Rainbow Run participants waiting in line for the lift.
Cheyenne Syvertson, a social worker and organizer with Jackson Hole Pride, helped put the Saturday afternoon LGBTQ+ ski party together.
She said queer joy is critical and visibility is important.
“To be proudly visible is crucial,” Syvertson said on the lift going up the mountain.
“When some people are introducing legislation or policy changes that roll back rights or make the lives of queer people more difficult, queer people and their allies especially need to be out and proud and visible to remind people, we’re here.”
“And we’re an important part of the community,” she added.
According to the ACLU, just this year, 33 states have introduced and advanced a record number of bills that attack LGBTQ+ rights, with a particular aim toward transgender youth.
During this year’s legislative session in Cheyenne, Wyoming’s GOP-led legislature passed a bill banning middle and high school transgender girls and women from playing on female sports teams. Republican Gov. Mark Gordon has not said if he intends to approve the bill, but unless he vetoes it, the bill will still become law.
Other legislation that would have criminalized gender-affirming care for trans kids or mimicked Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law did not pass.
At Saturday’s Rainbow Run, Kat Jac from Jackson and a friend shared a lift with Syvertson, whom they had just met. They said they heard about the Rainbow Run on the queer social network site, Lex.
“I feel really grateful, a little mad and stoked,” Jac said. “Grateful to be skiing. Mad because of the situation we’re in with some of the recent Pride-related stuff going on in the U.S., but stoked to be around people who get it and can be vocal about it and represent.”
The group spent the bluebird day going down some of the easy and intermediate runs and wrapped up around mid-afternoon. People gave each other hugs and said they looked forward to the next LGBTQ+ skiing event.
Syvertson said she will host more meetups in the future, and people of all skiing abilities are welcome. She said she plans to put together other non-skiing events as well.
On Wednesday, March.15, Jackson Hole Pride and housing advocacy group ShelterJH are teaming up to discuss what happened in the legislature this year. At 5:30 p.m., they’re hosting a taco night at Kalu at 140 North Cache Street.