The Wild Wanderer Spotlight Series highlights the stories of queer adventurers in their own words. We hope that by sharing these underrepresented voices, outdoor diversity and inclusivity will flourish. You are not alone.
Wild Wanderer Spotlight: Carmen
“I really appreciate Spotlights like this for people that have to fight to get a seat at the table, this gives us our own entire table.” – Carmen
What are your pronouns?
How do you identify?
I’m a Queer woman
What outdoor activities are you involved in?
I’m a long-distance backpacker.
Tell us about a favorite/memorable outdoor adventure you’ve had:
Because of Covid, I’ve been stuck in the USA and unable to return home to even visit, so last year, with everything going on, I decided “I’m leaving the USA.” On a whim, I took off and walked from the state I live in, all the way out to Canada and across the boundary waters with my dog Zuri. About halfway through, I broke my phone and left myself stranded out there with no way to contact anyone or let them know what happened to me. But that didn’t stop me. I went on to finish my trip and spent about a month without contacting anyone, even spent 2 weeks without seeing another person. Being phoneless was by far one of the best parts of my trip, but I couldn’t have done it without my dog Zuri.
In your opinion, what are the most important challenges/issues facing queer people outside?
While backpacking, I have never met a queer person (to my knowledge). I also have never met another Hispanic or immigrant out there either. Seeing groups of people out backpacking and not seeing a single one like myself is disheartening. Lots of times I also worry for my safety if people knew I was queer and an immigrant. Too often bigotry is openly preached on trail or in the small towns near trails.
As an LGBTQ2IA+ person, if you could change one thing about the outdoor industry, what would it be?
We are starting to see more diversity as far as big brands’ Instagram accounts go. They will post queer people and POCs but yet when you look at who they actually sponsor and who is on their ambassador teams…they are still mostly white, cis, straight men. I would change the way they look at us as tokens to post for “diversity points” yet not actually support.
Do you have anything else to add?
I really appreciate Spotlights like this for people that have to fight to get a seat at the table. This gives us our own entire table.
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