The Wild Wanderer Spotlight Series highlights the stories of queer adventurers in their own words, and we hope that by sharing these underrepresented voices, true diversity and inclusion will begin to make their way into the mainstream.
Wild Wanderer Spotlight: Brie Chartier
“I think one of the challenges queer people face getting outside is the idea that you have to look a certain way to be outdoorsy. People are left behind and left out because of size, shape, and skin color due to elitist attitudes and economic divisions.” – Brie
What are your pronouns?
She, her, hers
How do you identify?
I identify as a mom who loves the outdoors. I am also open about my trans identity because I want to work to erase the discrimination and hate that impacts transgender people in all aspects of life.
What outdoor activities are you involved in?
I climb a lot. I’ve been climbing over 25 years now. My goal for 2021 is to become a AMGA certified climbing instructor. I also looove snow sports that require strapping boots onto something; be it crampons, randonnee skis, or even an occasional snowboard.
I also enjoy cave exploration, canyoneering and river tracing, mountain biking, kayaking, and bike touring. I’m pretty lucky because as an outdoor recreation planner, I get to do these things for work and develop these opportunities for others.
Tell us about a favorite/memorable outdoor adventure you’ve had:
The most meaningful outdoor experiences have been recent and post-coming out as trans. Being included on women’s trips, and in general being able to sincerely connect, while sharing the activities that bring me joy is wonderful. I still cry often out the gratitude I feel for these experiences.
In your opinion, what are the most important challenges/issues facing queer people outside?
I think one of the challenges queer people face getting outside is the idea that you have to look a certain way to be outdoorsy. People are left behind and left out because of size, shape, and skin color due to elitist attitudes and economic divisions.
As an LGBTQ+ person, if you could change one thing about the outdoor industry, what would it be?
The outdoor industry is fraught with issues. Basically, it succeeds by selling something that belongs to everyone to the few with money. And it often uses toxic concepts of privilege, aggression, and competition to do so. “Buy our product to be faster, go farther with less effort, and prevail in a war with nature.” If I could influence outdoor companies, I’d ask them to promote their sustainable products by highlighting the connection they want to create with the ideal of nature and create affordable entry-level products in every category in all sizes. I’d get rid of $200 fleece jackets, nutrition bars with caffeine, and energy drinks that market risk and aggression.
Anything else to add?
The outdoors belong to everyone and land managers like me need to do a better job on making everyone feel safe and welcome in the spaces we manage. If anyone has thoughts about that, feel free to reach out!
Connect with Brie Chartier
Follow Brie on Instagram.
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