Backpackers.com exists because of our community. Our Trailblazer platform elevates community members who are making a lasting, positive impact on the outdoors, and we are excited to share them with you!
Meet our new Trailblazer Lettie Stratton. Lettie is the founder of Wild Wanderer, an outdoor adventure site for the LGBTQIA+ community. Lettie is a writer, cyclist, backpacker, hiker, nordic skier, and enjoyer of all things outdoors.
Read below for how Wild Wanderer came about, why it’s valuable, and how you can participate.
Introducing Wild Wanderer: Outdoor Adventure for the LGBTQIA+ Community
It’s human nature to want to see yourself represented. Seeing people who either look like you or who have similar backgrounds or life experiences makes you feel welcomed, included, and seen. For LGBTQIA+ people in the outdoors, that much-needed representation is unfortunately hard to come by.
I’ve loved the outdoors since I was a little kid. I grew up in Vermont nordic skiing, hiking, and cycling, and have enjoyed many outdoor adventures all over the world, whether bike touring in New Zealand or backpacking in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.
But it wasn’t until I connected more with my identity as a member of the queer community that I realized how far we are from equality in the outdoors. I looked and looked, but I wasn’t finding much representation or many resources for queer outdoorspeople and the specific issues we face on the trail.
I wanted to help fill that gap of resources and representation that I wasn’t seeing. Thus, my background as a writer and outdoor professional led me to create Wild Wander.
What is Wild Wanderer?
Wild Wanderer is first and foremost a community and platform for queer people who love the outdoors. I write about gear, trips, and LGBTQIA+-specific issues in the outdoor industry.
Whether discussing allyship, outdoor clothing needs for the queer community, or how to get started in nordic skiing, for example, Wild Wanderer is meant to be both a useful resource and a platform for greater representation.
The Wild Wanderer Spotlight Series highlights the stories of queer adventurers in their own words, and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you here on Backpackers.com. My hope is that by sharing these underrepresented voices, true diversity and inclusion will begin to make its way into the mainstream.
While the mainstream picture of the outdoor industry looks overwhelmingly white, male, and heterosexual, the Spotlight Series proves a different reality: We are here, we are queer, and we are exploring the outdoors, too!
We are both professional athletes and weekend warriors. We are gear junkies and, well, whatever the opposite of a gear junkie is. We are skiers, hikers, climbers, paddlers, cyclists, and more. Our identities are as diverse as the outdoor endeavors we enjoy.
At the time of writing this, 100% of Spotlight Series participants say that safety and/or representation are the largest issues facing the queer community in the outdoors. I hope you enjoy reading about the experiences of LGBTQIA+ outdoor adventurers and that together we can make nature a little more safe, a little more inclusive, and a little more fun for everyone.
Connect with Wild Wanderer
You can follow along with Wild Wanderer on my website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, be sure to get in touch if you think you or someone you know might be a good fit for the Spotlight Series!