Editor’s Note: This is a non-exhaustive, ever-evolving, community-driven list updated periodically. To suggest additional groups to add, email us at hello @ fieldmag dot com. Thank you!
While we all would like to believe that nature is the great equalizer, the reality is, the outdoors is not always a safe space for everyone. Though progress is being made, slowly, for many outdoorists, it can still be difficult to find acceptance on the trail and elsewhere in nature. Even still, a ray of positivity can be found in the many outdoor groups, collectives, and nonprofits created for and by LGBTQ+ communities currently operating around the US and beyond.
We at Field Mag are firm believers that we must all be active and purposeful in our efforts to make the outdoors a place where all can find the respite and rejuvenation so many of us seek to find among the natural world. Similar to our ongoing features highlighting prominent Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the outdoor world, as well as BIPOC outdoor organizations and groups to support, we have crowdsourced the following list of of 21 LGBTQ+ nonprofits, collectives, and groups.
This is a non-exhaustive, ever-evolving, community-driven list created as a resource for all seeking safe spaces to be themselves within the great outdoors. In this effort to collect and share our research, we hope to expand your knowledge and our own of the many important outdoor groups and organizations bringing much needed increased representation and diversity to nature. After all, nobody is free until we are all free to be ourselves, everywhere we wish to be.
To suggest additional groups to add, email us at hello @ fieldmag dot com. Thank you.*
National LGBTQIA+ Outdoor Organizations
Mission Based out of North Texas with chapters around the US, Canada, and Italy, LGBT Outdoors connects the LGBTQ+ community to the outdoors through social media, local groups, and events like hiking, camping, and more.
Location: New England and Pacific Northwest
Mission: The Venture Out Project leads backpacking and wilderness trips and adventures for members of the LGBTQ+, queer, and trans communities. Open to all experience levels, their goal is to create a safe space for connection and growth in the great outdoors. They also offer transgender inclusion workshops.
Mission: Although GOAT’s outdoor activities (and festivals!) are currently suspended due to COVID, that doesn’t mean they’re not hard at work. On an annual basis, the organization releases the Outdoor Equality Index (OEI), an assessment of volunteer or nominated company’s dedication towards beneficial engagement with the LGBTQ+ community. As a lack of data exists around the LGBTQ+ outdoor experience, the Index hopes to build transparency, trust, awareness, and accountability within the outdoor industry.
Donate: Fund the Outdoor Equality Index (OEI)
Location: Pacific Northwest, California, Oklahoma
Mission: Out There Adventures exists to empower queer young people through a connection with the natural world. Through team-based learning experiences like summer camps in partnership with the National Parks Service, OTA offers youth invaluable experiences among likeminded individuals in a community space.
Donate: Donations Accepted
Location: Based in Denver, CO
Mission: Through targeted athletic projects, TranSending aims to advance transgender rights and visibility. Their athlete Erin Parisi is on a mission to be the first transgender person to scale all of the seven highest summits on each of the seven continents. Currently, she’s taking on Mt. Denali in Alaska.
Donate: Help Fund Erin's climb
Mission: A coalition of outdoor social media influencers, which includes activists, athletes, bloggers, and entrepreneurs, Diversify Outdoors works to promote BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices in outdoor spaces to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. Founded by Danielle Williams of Melanin Base Camp, their work takes many different forms, like creating a jobs board to make opportunities more accessible and hosting events. Allies are also welcome to join.
Structure: Digital coalition, advocacy group
Mission: Founded by Natalie and Abigail Rodriguez, Van Life Pride is a digital community that celebrates queer nomads. Creating a safe place for this spread-out community to connect with each other and allies, the page is inclusive of not just all things LGBTQ+, but also different types of transit, from van life to buses to boats and more.
Structure: Virtual hub/social media community platform
Mission: The Queer Surf Club is a global community connecting LGBTQ+ surfers and their allies around the world. Through the hub, surfers can chat online and meet up in real life, recommend good surfing spots, and more. All experience levels are welcome, and the site includes a Queer Surf Map of LGBTQ+ owned or friendly surf businesses, surf clubs and locations.
Structure: Digital community hub
Mission: Founded by Jenny Bruso, the anti-racist, diverse, and body-liberating community Unlikely Hikers has hiking meet-ups around the US for anyone who’s ever felt unrepresented in outdoor spaces, culture, and media. From trans to disabled to people of color and beyond, all are welcome. The group also runs a thriving Instagram page and podcast.
Structure: National collective
Location: Northwestern U.S. and Intermountain West
Mission: Through workshops, classes, and immersion programs, Queer Nature teaches place-based skills such as wilderness and survival skills, ecology, and reconnecting with nature and ancestors through an anti-colonial, pro-indigenous lens. Founded by Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd and Boreal Faun, their goal is to improve the access and sense of belonging in nature for all LGBTQIA+, non-binary, and two-spirit people and allies, and their teachings go far beyond practical skills and information to embrace the spiritual and emotional sides of being outdoors that are often neglected.
Donate: Make a tax-deductible donation to support their mission here
Mission: Founded by former pro turned acclaimed filmmaker Tanner Pendleton (get to know Tanner and his work here) to make snowboarding a more inclusive and accessible community, Seen Snowboarding hosts positivity-driven meet-ups for LGBTQ+ snowboarders and allies at different snowboarding areas around the country, with Oregon, California, and Utah already in the books. Launching in 2020, this humble yet impactful collection has the vibe of a grassroots movement with the backing of some of the industries best and brightest riders.
Location: California based, International presence
Mission: Created in 2017, the California-based Unity Skateboarding collective aims to tackle homophobia in skate culture, give LGBTQ+ skaters a community, and raise awareness and representation. With members around the world who meet up for skate days in different cities, the collective also has an artistic bent and unique style courtesy of co-founder and artist Jeffrey Cheung, who sells his painted boards, puts out a zine and prints, and more.
Regional LGBTQIA+ Outdoor Groups
Location: Pacific Northwest
Mission: This PNW-based collective offers a place for queer people of color who love hiking and spending time outdoors to share stories and resources and raise awareness and representation. On top of hosting group hikes and events around the region, their site centers LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other marginalized voices by encouraging members to share stories of their outdoor experiences.
Structure: Regional club
Location: San Francisco, California
Mission: Not to be confused with the aforementioned Queer Surf Club, California's Queer Surf has been fostering a safe space for marginalized water people since 2015. Largely based around gatherings and group lessons, Queer Surf aims to equip the LGBTQIA community with the gear and knowledge needed to overcome fears and trauma through surfing.
Structure: Local Collective
Donate: Surf gear and cash donations accepted
Location: California, Wisconsin
Mission: Founded in San Diego in 2019 and with a recently-launched chapter in Wisconsin, the Queer Climbing Collective aims to connect LGBTQI+ people and allies who share a love for climbing and the great outdoors. Holding both indoor and outdoor climbing meet-ups and events, all experience levels are welcome, and founder Elli wants to make climbing a more accessible, diverse, equitable, and inclusive space.
Location: Seattle, WA
Mission: Founded in 2015, Seattle Queer Climbers host gym meet-ups and climbing events for climbers of all-ages. As any outdoor activity can be expensive, the group also aims to connect folks with gear, transportation, and other resources.
Structure: Volunteer run Non-profit
Location: Portland, OR
Mission: Wild Diversity is a nonprofit creating a sense of belonging for BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ people in the outdoors through organized trips, providing outdoor education, and hosting community workshops for all ages.
Donate: Give one time or monthly
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Mission: Nonprofit Camp Ten Oaks empowers 2SLGBTQ+ youth and their families ages 8-21 through outdoor play, social justice, collaboration, and community building. Although camp will be shut down this year, they continue to host virtual events and workshops.
Facebook: Ten Oaks Project
Donate: Donate or fundraise
Location: Atlanta, GA
Mission: A collective of Queer and Trans, Latinx, and Indigenous organizers who are working to make community gardening, mutual aid, cultural and political education, and food sovereignty/autonomy more accessible to their community. Group events feature monthly botanical walks, workshops with food professionals, and virtual drag shows. Read more about them in Vogue.
Structure: Local Collective
Donate: Help Mariposas Rebledes purchase land
Location: Plymouth, VT
Mission: In the woods of Vermont, 501(c)(3) nonprofit Farm and Wilderness hosts summer camp for LGBTQIA+ youth from ages 4-10. Based on Quaker principles of simplicity, peacemaking, integrity, community, equity, and service, campers learn to reconnect with the outdoors and even the littlest campers experience an overnight camping trip.
Donate: Give to annual or recovery fund
Location: Brooklyn, NY chapter of Oakland, CA’s FWOD (For Women Only, Duh)
Mission: NightCAP hosts social bike rides for trans and non-binary folks as well as queer and allied cis women every Tuesday at 7pm, with the occasional bonus ride on Sundays and Holidays. Follow their Instagram to catch start points and mileage, as it varies, and enjoy their rides all around Brooklyn.
Donate: Donations vary by ride
Location: New York, New York
Mission: The Skate Kitchen started as a collective of queer and BIPOC lady skateboarders in NYC. A short and feature-length film about the group was directed by Crystal Moselle and their story was most recently adapted into the show “Betty” on HBO. While their events are a bit elusive, following @ninamoninamoninamo may be your best bet to get involved, or just Insta-stalk all their badass members for Cool Girl inspo.
Media: “Skate Kitchen” Movie and “Betty” on HBO