For the LGBTQ community, finding yourself outside just got a little easier with the help of a nifty new community-generated map from The Wilderness Society x Pride Outside. We caught up with Hannah Malvin, founder of Pride Outside to find out more about this resource, how it can be used, and how the non-LGBTQ community can partake in supporting their mission to “connect the LGBTQ community around the outdoors.”
Hipcamp: What sparked the creation of Pride Outside, and how has it grown?
Hannah: I founded Pride Outside in August of 2016 to help connect the LGBTQ community around the outdoors. I noticed there was a lot of great work going on across the country but folks didn’t all know one another or work closely together on a national level, so I wanted to help support, amplify, and build on the work in that space. Our first event was 10 friends on a hike, then we grew from there, and it’s been wonderful getting to know LGBTQ rangers, outdoor professionals, and outdoor enthusiasts across the country, and finding chances to collaborate.
We have a chapter in Washington, DC where we lead hikes, outdoor skills classes, and LGBTQ history walking tours. We co-host the annual LGBTQ Outdoor Summit with Out There Adventures, this year September 26-29 on Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho ancestral land in Estes Park, Colorado. We’re also working with the International Ranger Federation to build out a global LGBTQ park ranger network. And during June we work with NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries on #PrideInTheOcean, a social media campaign celebrating Pride Month and National Ocean Month, by encouraging LGBTQ folks to share selfies outside to boost LGBTQ visibility and show everyone belongs outside.
Hipcamp: Can you speak more to Pride Outside’s mission to “Connect the LGBTQ community around the outdoors”? Are there ways that non-LGBTQ+ members can support the mission of Pride Outside?
Hannah: Connecting the LGBTQ community around the outdoors means a lot of things to me. It’s providing invitations for folks to have fun together outside, like an outdoor alternative to a happy hour. It’s coming together to better understand our history through place-based interpretation in neighborhoods and on public lands. It’s hosting conversations to explore the connection between LGBTQ identities and the outdoors. And it’s convening the community to boost LGBTQ representation and inclusion outdoors.
All are welcome to join our events. Attending the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit is a great opportunity to learn more about the experiences of LGBTQ people in the outdoors and identify opportunities to boost representation and inclusion. If you’re connected with an organization, we’re always looking for sponsors as well to make the conference as affordable as possible for attendees. If you work in the outdoor world, you can consider opportunities to offer relevant programming and inclusive policies, and build a more equitable conservation movement and public lands system. Check out the National Park Service’s extraordinary LGBTQ Theme Study. Conservation and outdoor industry organizations can submit job opportunities to be shared in our twice monthly jobs listserve to share with LGBTQ professionals. You can follow along on social media or our email list to stay in the loop on upcoming opportunities.
Hipcamp: Queering the map looks like an awesome community-generated resource. How did this come together? What is your hope for queering the map for the future?
Hannah: I’m often asked where people can find LGBTQ outdoor groups near them and I kept having to say “I don’t know.” Since there’s no existing resource for that, we set out to make one. We connected with The Wilderness Society’s mapping team and we hope that this will help serve LGBTQ folks across the country looking for nearby opportunities, and also help facilitate connections for parks, conservation orgs, and outdoor industry looking to do community outreach and work more closely with local LGBTQ outdoor organizations.
Hipcamp: How has the map been received since launching, and is there anything you’ve found surprising?
Hannah: Well, the site just went live recently, so let us know what you think! Through our outreach thus far, there’s excitement from LGBTQ outdoor groups to share what they’re up to, and from conservation and outdoor industry orgs to find opportunities to connect. In doing our research it was wonderful to see the wide array of organizations all across the country offering activities from hiking to climbing, sailing, softball, swimming, running, walking, frisbee, orientation, scuba, and more. We also came across this beautiful map of queer stories that made us melt.
As we build out the tool, we encourage additional groups to input their information to make it a more comprehensive resource.
Hipcamp: How do you suggest becoming involved in the Pride Outside group, can anyone become a member and supporter?
Hannah: Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up for our email updates here. Everyone is welcome at our events. Contact Hannah_Malvin@tws.org for more information. Join us at the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit. Register here and submit a session proposal here through June 30th.
Hipcamp: Where do you see Pride Outside in 1 year, 5 years?
Hannah: I hope we’re continuing to build LGBTQ community around the outdoors in new and exciting ways. I hope we have stronger networks of regular communication and coordination for members, more chapters across the country, and better data about the LGBTQ community and the outdoors.
At Hipcamp, we care deeply about creating an inclusive, equitable and diverse community with every Hipcamp Host that welcomes campers, and every Hipcamper that embarks on an adventure with us. That’s why #DiversityIsStrength as one of our four core values—we believe pride outside should be celebrated every day, in addition to the wonderful spotlight that the month of June gives to the LGBTQ community.
Did this post inspire you to connect with a local LGBTQ group and spend more time in nature? Start planning your next trip now!
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