Drag Queen Pattie Gonia Celebrates Pride with Yosemite Park Rangers — And It’s Fabulous

A screenshot of a person waving a Pride flag in a TikTok video, Pattie Gonia in a park ranger outfit, and a group of LGBTQ+ park rangers

Whether you’re familiar with Pattie Gonia for their upcycled drag looks, eco-inspired drag performances, inclusive outdoors nonprofit The Outdoorist Oath, or a recent Pride Month campaign with The North Face, there’s no mistaking the ginger-haired queen on social media.

This weekend, Pattie shared a now-viral TikTok highlighting her Pride celebrations at Yosemite National Park.

“In case you didn’t know…” Pattie starts the narration of the video, “Gay people are taking over the National Park System.”

@pattiegonia all parks are gay now, those are the rules. #pride #yosemite #queer ♬ original sound - pattiegonia

This was Pattie’s third-consecutive Pride celebration in Yosemite, and by the looks of it, the festivities are getting bigger and brighter every year. It’s also part of their summer tour, where Pattie and partnering organizations host drag events and environmental stewardship outings across the country.

Pattie goes on to clarify that this wasn’t just a Pride party for visitors of Yosemite Valley — but an event specifically for park employees. 

“As you can see, there are literal hundreds of queer Yosemite employees,” Pattie’s voiceover points out, as footage shows joyful, rainbow-clad park rangers rejoicing outdoors.

The video depicts quick clips of marching, dancing, smiling, and adventuring folks enjoying the outdoors together, and, of course, Pattie, in a stylish park ranger look. 

While these celebrations are cause for contagious queer joy, they also speak to Pattie’s larger mission of intersectional environmentalism: making the outdoors a safer and more welcoming place for all kinds of people.

Pattie Gonia stands in Yosemite National Park, in a skimpy park ranger outfit, her signature ginger wig and black knee-high boots. She waves two small Pride flags.g
Pattie Gonia hit the trails in her signature black leather boots. Photo courtesy of Pattie Gonia

“I am so proud of all the community organizers in the park system who are making safe spaces for queer people all year round,” Pattie says in the video. “No planet; no Pride.” 

Instagram user and former Pacific Crest Trail Association employee Hazel, whose trail name is Ranger Platypus, was part of Pattie’s Pride celebrations at Eastern Sierra Pride the weekend before Yosemite’s gathering. 

Hazel is a trans-masculine outdoors enthusiast who just left their job to better focus on their self-care and transition — and Pattie’s Pride celebration was the perfect place to embrace and care for their whole self.

He said the event included drag performances, volunteer opportunities, and connection with fellow LGBTQ+ outdoor enthusiasts.

“I think it's very easy to get stuck in the doom and gloom when it comes to environmentalism these days,” he told Good Good Good. “Having spaces like this where you can really see and feel the sense of community helps you realize that together we are stronger and can make amazing things happen, but we also need to care for ourselves and one another along the way.” 

Hazel "Ranger Platypus" stands next to Pattie Gonia and another event attendee outdoors. They are all smiling and wearing bright colors.
The Yosemite Pride party is part of Pattie Gonia's summer tour. The week prior, she visited Eastern Sierra Pride. Photo courtesy of Hazel "Platypus Ranger"

Hazel added that this Pride celebration felt “magical” and allowed them to exist fully in nature, away from any difficulties happening in their life or around the world.

“When I'm out in nature, I'm constantly bewildered by plants and wildlife and all of the adaptations and different ways that they manage to find a space where they can thrive,” Hazel said. “I think there is an important lesson we can learn there: There is not a singular way to be and move through the world. Nature is queer and often does not abide by the rules or categories that we artificially try to create.”

Hazel wasn’t the only person overjoyed by the inclusive nature of Pattie’s Pride gatherings. Thousands of TikTok commenters joined in on the fun of the Yosemite event — even virtually.

“I AM A LESBIAN THAT WANTS TO WORK IN A NATIONAL PARK AND THIS MADE ME SO HAPPY,” one commenter wrote, caps-lock for emphasis. 

“You are such an icon,” another chimed in. “I hope someday there are safe spaces for everyone on a safe planet.”

“I’m so grateful for y’all taking care of our parks and caring about the community and the Earth,” said another.

Even the nonprofit Human Rights Campaign joined in on the buzz.

“Love safe spaces in nature!” the organization wrote.

While many of us dwell in the FOMO of this downright lovely LGBTQ+ gathering, it also leaves us feeling inspired and excited to get outdoors and take good care of our planet — and each other. 

A post on the Yosemite Park Instagram account summarized it best:

“Nature is a wild and fluid place; we see that in the waterfalls, meadows, and flora and fauna that call this place home. Let Yosemite serve you as a space to process, dream, inspire, connect, find solitude, relax, adventure and be proud.”

Header image(s) courtesy of Pattie Gonia

Article Details

June 12, 2023 1:54 PM
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