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: Sarah Scruggs
“When I think about representation, I think about a quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg; when asked when there will be enough women serving on the Supreme Court, she replied “until there are nine”…I think that logic can definitely be applied to representation in the outdoor industry for queer people and any other group of marginalized people.” – Sarah
What are your pronouns?
How do you identify?
Cisgender queer ace Black woman
What outdoor activities are you involved in?
Tell us about a favorite/memorable outdoor adventure you’ve had:
I think my most cherished adventure is a week-long American southwest road trip (aka Desert Dayz/Daze) that I took myself on in November 2018. I just finished an internship with the US Forest Service at Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument in southwest Washington and was traveling down to my next internship with the National Park Service at Coronado National Memorial in southeast Arizona. Despite my east coast roots, I’ve been fascinated with the desert for as long as I can remember. I spent time camping and exploring southern Utah in 2016 but left wanting more. That week included hiking in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, Zion National Park, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument, visits to the Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon, a guided tour of lower Antelope Canyon, and camping in Monument Valley. It. Was. So. Great! Since it was off peak season I was able to learn more from guides and rangers and got plenty of alone time on the trails. *sigh* I still think about that trip, like, once a week.
In your opinion, what are the most important challenges/issues facing queer people outside?
Safety. Tragically, the response to even just the existence of queer people can turn violent. I tend to hike alone and can do so relatively safely being a straight-passing person (still clearly a woman of color though). But imagine if I expressed my gender and sexuality differently–I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that it could be a matter of life and death for some folx. What if you’re thru-hiking or bikepacking in less-than-friendly areas? Recreating outside with another person or in a group can be a great way to increase safety but even then, if the space isn’t explicitly queer-friendly, we still might have to closet ourselves. we have every right to live as proudly as our oppressors.
As an LGBTQ+ person, if you could change one thing about the outdoor industry, what would it be?
Representation and visibility! We need it! We deserve it! When I think about representation, I think about a quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg; when asked when there will be enough women serving on the Supreme Court, she replied “until there are nine”, pointing out that there had been nine men making up the whole court and nobody raised questions. I think that logic can definitely be applied to representation in the outdoor industry for queer people and any other group of marginalized people.
Connect with Sarah Scruggs
Follow Sarah on Instagram.
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