As part of the outdoor community, we recognize the historical lack of diversity in the adventure and outdoor recreation industry. The truth is, as welcoming as the outdoors can feel for some, it doesn’t feel that way for everyone. And Pride Month is as good a time as any to highlight this issue and work to change it for the better.
This month, we want to feature some of the hardworking organizations that are working to make the outdoors more inclusive of and accessible to the LGBTQ+ community. Check out these seven groups and the work they’re doing to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the outdoors. And if you’re able to get more involved, these organizations could use your support, too.
The Venture Out Project
TheVenture Out Project, started by Perry Cohen in 2014, is a nonprofit organization known for leading wilderness trips for the queer and transgender community. But they do a whole lot more. The Venture Out Project also offers other events and resources, including:
Education workshops for educators, outdoor professionals, and summer camps
The Venture Out Project seeks to be an inclusive organization with its events and trips. But they also offer identity-specific programs — like for BIPOC or transgender and nonconforming individuals — that are extremely popular. Similarly, a lot of their programming is designed for those who identify as queer, but there are specific events and trips that welcome family members and allies.
If you want to get involved with The Venture Out Project, you can learn about volunteering, attending an event, donating, or supporting in other ways by checking out their website and subscribing to their newsletter.
LGBT Outdoors is an organization that seeks to build community within the LGBTQ+ community while fostering an appreciation of the outdoors. They do this online through their blog and podcast as well as in person through local chapter events, the annual LGBT Outdoorfest, and adventure trips.
LGBT Outdoors is also currently conducting a survey with the aim of increasing the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the outdoors.
To get involved with LGBT Outdoors, you can take the Visibility Survey, attend a trip or local event, apply to become an ambassador, or donate.
Unlikely Hikers is a group for anyone who identifies as such — and it seeks to be a community for the “underrepresented outdoorsperson.” Unlikely Hikers recognizes that their community of queer, trans, disabled, plus-sized, Black, Indigenous, and other folks isn’t typically represented in the outdoor industry. And this organization wants to talk about it.
Unlikely Hikers hosts welcoming events across the country. These hikes are slow and intentional, and sometimes designed with a specific ability or identity in mind. While Unlikely Hikers is welcoming of anyone, they reserve a certain number of spots on their hikes for BI&POC, trans, fat/plus-size, and disabled-identified individuals.
You can get involved with Unlikely Hikers in a few different ways: by registering for a hike, shopping their merch, and following Unlikely Hikers on Instagram.
The Outdoorist Oath
The Outdoorist Oath is an organization committed to supporting a healthier outdoors — in regards to the planet, inclusion, and adventure. The Oath itself is a workshop in which participants commit to these three pillars as they learn “a model to approach allyship for planet, inclusion, [and] adventure.”
The Oath Workshop is offered live by an experienced facilitator, so you’ll have to mark your calendar for an upcoming event. In addition to these virtual workshops, The Outdoorist Oath also hosts both live and virtual “stretch sessions,” where participants can build on the lessons they’ve taken away from the Oath Workshop. Some sessions focus on specific themes, like Native Land.
Other ways to get involved with The Outdoorist Oath include donating money or gear, volunteering, or booking a private workshop.
OutVentures is a regional, volunteer-driven nonprofit organization in the Seattle area. The organization’s goal is to bring LGBTQ folks together to experience the outdoors and build community.
OutVentures has been around for nearly thirty years and is still going strong. The nonprofit primarily offers member-led outdoor activities, like hiking, camping, kayaking, and biking. But they also host potlucks and other social events. While most events are for members, potlucks are open to anyone looking to get a sense of what the group is all about.
In addition to outdoor activities and potlucks, you can get involved with OutVentures by leading a trip or taking a class.
Pride Outside started as a way to get the LGBTQ community outdoors in the urban center of Washington, D.C. Founder Hannah Malvin wanted to create an alternative to the typical LGBTQ community social scene — “bars and drinking.” The organization hosts hikes, classes, discussions, and even LGBTQ+ history walking tours.
In addition to these regular offerings, Pride Outsides hosts an annual LGBTQ Outdoor Summit. The idea is to connect leaders in the LGBTQ community to each other and the outdoors in the hopes of making the outdoors more accessible for LGBTQ individuals. The 5th LGBTQ Outdoor Summit will happen sometime in 2024. Subscribe to Pride Outside emails and check out the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit website to stay up-to-date on the upcoming summit, other events, and ways to get involved.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Wild Diversity is a nonprofit organization that works to connect Black, Indigenous, all People of Color, and the LGBTQ2S+ communities with the outdoors. They do this in a number of ways, including:
Hosting day and weekend trips
Facilitating workshops and outdoor skills classes
Lending outdoor gear through their gear library
Forming community partnerships
Leading diverse leadership development training
Running youth summer day and overnight camps for BIPOC and LGBTQ youth
To get involved, you can participate in an upcoming event, donate used gear, explore volunteer opportunities, submit a job posting to the community job board, or make a financial donation. And to stay up to date on the latest Wild Diversity news, be sure to subscribe to their newsletter.
Celebrate Pride Month By Getting Outside
Whether you attend a summit, join a day hike, or donate gear, we hope you can find a way to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month — and all year long.
Oh, and do us a favor? Comment below to let us and other readers know about organizations — either in your area or nationwide — working to make the outdoors more inclusive. The more awareness there is around this important work, the better!
Emily is a copywriter based in northern Michigan. She's happiest outdoors, whether she's hiking, skiing, paddling, or swimming. As a writer, she loves working with companies that inspire all people to get outside. When she's not writing or playing outdoors, you can find her cooking, reading, or hanging out with family and friends. Find more of her writing here.