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Activity: trail running, hiking, mountain biking, skiing
How I Identify: queer transman
According to a recent Gallup poll, the percentage of American adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender rose to 4.5 percent in 2017, up from 3.5 percent in 2012, when Gallup began tracking the measure. Although the outdoors plays an important role in their lives, many LGBTQ+ adults don't see themselves represented in the outdoor industry.
We talked to more than 30 LGBTQ+ adventurers to get a sense of their lives in the great outdoors. We asked each to describe, in their own words, their identity, what the outdoors means to them, and how their identity and outdoor recreation overlaps or clashes. Here’s what they had to say.
Outside Online Magazine
The Group Getting Queer People Outside Together:
The Venture Out Project is doing more than just teaching outdoor skills. It's creating a community.
It was not yet noon, and a group of wilderness instructors-in-training had just summited scenic Baker Peak in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. They ate protein bars while group member Lex Jackson, 23, a cartography expert, gave everyone a lesson in topography. With Jackson’s help, everyone picked out the highest and lowest points on their maps.
“I was working this corporate job, and, every day, I looked out the window and thought, ‘Man, those mountains are so beautiful, I wish I was out there’,” remembers Perry Cohen.
Growing up, Perry was an outdoorsy kid–hiking and cross-country skiing in rural New Hampshire. He was thrilled when, as a teenager, he got to sign up for an Outward Bound course. But the experience left him disappointed. For the first time, he didn’t click with the group....
Amid Freetly was first to take the plunge into the swimming hole below the Big Log Camp Bridge. Soon enough, others peeled off their clothes and joined in.
Jay Crosby, a queer, nonbinary person with breasts, asked if he could swim with his shirt off.
"It's your trip," Perry Cohen said with a nod.
Last September, 12 hikers from six states around the country set out on a four-day journey through Olympic National Park—one in a series of expeditions organized by the Venture Out Project, a nonprofit that takes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and nonbinary and differently gendered people on wilderness adventures. The group, which Cohen founded, has taken around 300 hikers into the woods since 2015 and has eight trips, plus dozens of day hikes and classes, planned for this year...
After saying sayonara to a corporate job in leadership development, Perry Cohen established The Venture Out Project, one of the first wilderness guiding companies run by, and for, queer and transgender people, in 2014. Besides leading backpacking trips for LGBTQ+ adults and youth and runs queer and trans inclusivity workshops for corporations, camps, and schools.
Venture Out's 2018 trips include a LGBTQ+ family camping weekend in western Massachusetts, an inclusive queer women's backpacking trip in the Green Mountains, a transmasculine-centered sea-to-summit trek in Acadia, and a trip geared specifically towards queer trans people of color...
Kyle Norris Podcast
Portrait of Southern Queers: A Venture Out Road Trip
In the spring 2018, Malcolm, The FTM Traveler, embarked on a road trip across the United States meeting up with local queer & trans folks and leading day hikes in their areas. Kyle Norris met up with Malcolm in Arkansas and Missouri to capture voices from local queer communities.
Into More Magazine
The year is new and one of your resolutions is to get your ass back into nature. You want to get off the grid, into the jack pines and birch stands, and get fitter while doing it. And a few more like-minded friends wouldn’t hurt either. It may seem easier to just hit the trail solo, but hiking with established clubs will take you to places you’d never dream of by yourself and teach you essential backcountry skills and leave-no-trace principles while introducing you to a community you may not meet at your local watering hole.
Whether you’re looking for short local jaunts outside city limits on a Sunday morning or a wild international expedition later in the year, there is a queer club or company ready to welcome you with open arms on their next outing. Even if you’re not looking to hike, learning rock climbing, river rafting, backpacking, and skiing are all within your grasp at a low cost....
The Out Entrepreneur
Perry Cohen realized a lifelong dream of combining his love of the outdoors, his commitment to social justice, his own trans & queer identity, and his professional life when he founded The Venture Out Project, a business that brings the queer community together to experience the beauty and fun of the wilderness with trips run by queer people for queer people. Perry also serves as the lead facilitator and trainer for the Venture Out Project’s gender and diversity training program, where he has presented in front of audiences at UC Davis, The University of Maryland, Colby College, Middlebury College, The University of New Mexico, and other institutions. Perry has two children, a partner, and a chocolate lab, and calls the hills and trails of Western Massachusetts home....
Think Out Loud, OPB
Queer Out Here
From the sea to the mountains, from cities to fields, along footpaths and highways and beaches, let us take your ears adventuring! The fifteen pieces in Queer Out Here Issue 01 include poetry, conversations, sound art, stories, interviews and field recordings from queer/LGBTQIA+ folks around the world. Full transcript and show notes available below.