Trans Visibility Day: Celebrating the people making the planet a better place for our trans friends and fellow outdoorists
For years, every March 31, people have gathered and activated all over the country for Transgender Day of Visibility, taking the opportunity to recognize the resilience and accomplishments of the transgender community. It’s a day to reflect, and also a day to celebrate the amazing people that are our trans friends and fellow outdoorists.
To all the trans environmentalists, scientists, eco-forward policy-makers, nature stewards and lovers: thank you.
Here are six outdoorists and environmental activists making the planet a better place for trans people. Follow them on social media and support their work and organizations.
“Artist, rapper, and founder of Camp Lost Boys, a retreat for adult men of trans experience,” goes the HipCamp profile of Rocco Kayiatos. “Perhaps you recognize Kayiatos as rapper Katastrophe, who took over in the mid-aughts as the first openly transgender man to put out an LP. These days, Kayiatos keeps busy working on a variety of projects and experiences including Camp Lost Boys, an annual retreat that provides four days of activities, workshops, and experiences for trans men. The nonprofit camp offers hiking, archery, horseback riding, swimming, and campfires among other activities, all set in remote places close to nature. Beyond CLB, Kayiatos is also the founder of The International Man Project, which provides men and male-identified people resources—like the Mindful Masculinity Workbook—to help forge healthier masculinities.”
This duo created Queer Nature, an education and social sculpture project based in the Northwestern U.S. and Intermountain West. They design and facilitate “nature-based workshops and multi-day immersions designed specifically for LGBTQ2+ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two-Spirit) and QTBIPOCs (queer and trans black and indigenous people of color),” says their website. “Queer Nature carries the story and hope that these spaces create new narratives of belonging for folks who have often been made to feel by systems of oppression that they biologically, socially, or culturally don’t belong.”
Now the highest-profile trans official in the country, Rachel Levine became the first openly transgender person to win confirmation in the US Senate when Joe Biden nominated her for the role of assistant secretary of health. “People fear what they don’t understand and have experience of. I’m hoping that my appointment, and my being open and out and working for the nation’s public health, will lead to less fear and more acceptance. That’s my goal,” she told The Guardian.
Founder of Disabled Hikers, nonbinary Syren Nigakyrie aims to build disability community and justice in the outdoors. Disabled Hikers is a “project by disabled hikers for disabled hikers,” according to its website, which provides information and resources to “help you know what to expect on a trail and plan accordingly. We want to help you enjoy the outdoors and love the experience from where you are. If you have a friend or family member who is disabled, or if you are a beginning hiker, or you have temporary mobility limitations, this site may be helpful too.”
Author and thru-hiker Carrot Quinn takes to nature because she “is weary of a life of screens, in a city where she feels disconnected from everyone. In a desperate move, she breaks away from everything to walk 2,660 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail,” so says the description of her first book, Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart. Her second book, The Sunset Route, tells the tales of years prior to thru-hiking: “The unforgettable story of one woman who leaves behind her hardscrabble childhood in Alaska to travel the country via freight train—a beautiful memoir about forgiveness, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of nature, perfect for fans of Wild or Educated.”
Emma Athena is an award-winning journalist and fresh-air lover. She writes about adventure and the environment, where humans and nature intersect at their most impactful moments. When she’s not glued to her keyboard or curled up with a book, she’s running in the mountains with her dog or camping with people she loves. To read more of her work and get in contact, visit emmaathena.com.
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