June is Pride Month and an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the LGBTQI2S+ community. Skate Canada has done and is continuing to do substantive work in relation to LGBTQI2S+ inclusion but we know there remains critical inclusion work to be done moving forward in relation to race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, religion, class, size, and ability, and their intersections.

To support an inclusive environment this Pride Month we are sharing personal stories from our skating community. Below is the story of Katie and Allison Blagdon. Photo credits: Susan Brewer Photography – Newfoundland and Labrador

Our names are Katie and Allison Blagdon. We live in Mount Pearl Newfoundland and are both coaches with the Prince of Wales Skating Club. Pride month means so much to us for so many reasons, and our experiences have been nothing short of amazing. Taking the cake would have to be our New York City engagement on June 25th, 2017, during the last weekend of Pride celebrations. We got engaged in Central Park and then got all dressed up in our rainbow attire and took in the incredible parade. It was a perfect day, and we felt so proud seeing so much support for our community, even when were nearly 2000 miles away from home. Getting engaged during such a huge pride event was an unforgettable experience.

Fast forward just over a year later. We are so incredibly blessed to be joined by our friends and family, and so many members of the skating community to celebrate our wedding day, August 11th, 2018. Of course, skating was a huge part of our day, from members of our bridal party having met us through skating, to taking pictures on the ice! One of the most special moments for us was that our dear friend Meghan Rafferty, who is a coach from Manitoba, performed our ceremony, and officially married us. We both met Meghan attending the Skate Canada Ice Summit and became forever friends. Having her as a part of our special day meant so much to us.

We are proud members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and Skate Canada family. We have met so many wonderful people during our years together, at countless events across the country. We are a coaching team that met through skating and have felt nothing but love from our skating family. We feel very fortunate to be so supported by our skaters, club, section, and sanction, and are so lucky to openly be who we are. We would like thank Skate Canada for sharing our story and for showing so much love and support to our community. As coaches we see the importance of an inclusive environment for all, no matter how you identify.

Each year we look forward to celebrating Pride here in our community and attend as many events as possible. This year, things are a little different, but celebrations will continue the best way that they can. We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Pride month – there is no better time than now for some extra rainbows!

Skate Canada thanks to Katie and Allison for sharing their story and bringing awareness to the skating community. If you are a member of the LGBTQI2S+ skating community and are interested in sharing your personal story please send us an email at [email protected].