Kadisha Aburub - Sender One Climbing
Pride in Climbing

Pride in Climbing

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Written by Kadisha Aburub & Eric Ho, Edited by Crystal Tan

It’s PRIDE month. 

Everywhere you turn, you will likely see a rainbow somewhere. Although it's exciting to see the world embrace our community, navigating the relationship with where we stand within that community and outside of it may not always feel like rainbows. Let's dive into some terminology.

progress pride flag

What do the letters in LGBTQIA+ mean?

Lesbian: a woman who is physically, emotionally, or romantically attracted to other women.

Gay: a person who is physically, emotionally, or romantically attracted to people of the same gender.

Bisexual: a person who is physically, emotionally, or romantically attracted to people within more than one sex, gender, or gender identity.

Transgender: a person whose gender identity or expression is different from the sex assigned at birth. Transgender should be used as an adjective — not as a noun or a verb. 

Queer: an adjective used by some people whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual or straight. It’s an umbrella term that includes people who have non-binary or gender-fluid identities. Non-binary describes a person whose gender identity falls outside of strictly male or strictly female. 

    • Gender fluid describes a person whose gender identity or expression changes over time. 
    • Genderqueer describes a person who does not follow static categories of gender, embracing a fluidity of gender identity and, oftentimes, sexual orientations. 
    • Gender non-conforming describes a person who does not abide by traditional or cultural expectations — in regards to appearance or behavior — of their gender. 
    • In a 2018 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) survey, over 12% of LGBTQ youth identified as non-binary, and 9% identified as genderqueer or gender non-conforming. 
    • Questioning: When “Q” comes at the end of LGBTQ, it can also mean questioning. Questioning is a term used to describe a person who is exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Intersex: a term used to describe a person who is born with differences in their sex traits or reproductive anatomy that don’t fit typical definitions of female or male.

Asexual: a term used to describe a person who lacks sexual attraction or desire for other people

“+” stands for plus: a symbol that represents members of the community who identify with a sexual orientation or gender identity that isn’t included within the LGBTQIA acronym. It’s an inclusive way of representing gender and sexual identities that letters and words cannot yet fully describe.

Explanation of the Progress Pride Flag: Red = Life, Orange = Healing, Yellow = New Ideas, Green = Prosperity, Blue = Serenity, Violet = Spirit, Black/Brown = People of Color, White/Light Blue/Pink = Trans Community

Gender identity and gender expression are also different!

Resources & Support

We climb to maintain our physical and possibly social capital. Climbing has also been shown to help improve our mental health! However, those of us in marginalized groups suffer disproportionately when it comes to mental health, especially those of us in intersectional communities (e.g. QPOC).

We’ve collected a few mental health resources to connect with or keep in your back pocket when needed.

The Trans Lifeline - Dial in crisis (877) 565-8860

Trans Defense Fund Los Angeles - Free self-defense kits to trans-POC in LA

Trevor Project - Leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people

Articles - "Being There for LGBTQ Young People with Disabilities"

Orange County LGBTQ CenterAffirming therapy

Coming out can be a lifelong process and very different for each person. Navigating coming out or rather, "stepping in” can feel both liberating and constant. Here are some resources that may help guide the process.

Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Latinx Americans

Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Americans

Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People

More coming out stories and resources from the Human Rights Campaign

All are welcome at our affinity group meet-ups, including our Send With Pride meetups. Even allies! Our Send with Pride meet-ups center LGBTQIA+ folx in the community, creating a safe space for all to connect.

What is a safe space, you ask? A space is only truly safe if it’s safe for the most vulnerable of us, especially those of us with intersectional identities. We want our meet-up attendees to feel free from discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.

Here are some tips on how to be an "ally":

What does it mean to be an "ally"?
Being an ally is a verb". Being an ally is NOT just checking a box

Examples of active allyship:

  • Knowing when to speak up and offering space 
  • Learn, listen, and read from folx in the community 
  • Find opportunities to talk openly with your straight and/or cisgender friends about your LGBTQ+ friends and family and the issues they face
  • Get involved with pro-LGBTQ+ groups and campaigns and contact your elected officials to stand with and support LGBTQ+ rights
  • Reflect on ways you can be an advocate for the community in your everyday life

    Examples of checking a box:

    • Wearing a rainbow shirt
    • Slapping a rainbow sticker on your water bottle
    • Attending PRIDE events

    Climbing for the first time can be intimidating. Joining your first gym meet-up can also be scary. The climbing community, fortunately, has many welcoming groups and safe spaces, indoors and outdoors!

    Looking for queer climbing guides/meet-up spaces?

    You’ve probably seen the Queer Crush logo on our Send With Pride flyers. What is Queer Crush, you ask? They’re a nonprofit whose mission is to host meetups that create and maintain safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Check them out at queercrush.org and @queercrushclimbing on IG!

    Indigenous People’s Month

    Indigenous People’s Month

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    Written by Kadisha Aburub

    Picture this: you and your friends plan a bouldering trip to Joshua Tree and are eager to explore all the areas you have yet to visit. It is easy to forget that public lands were created through dispossession of millions of Indigenous people. As a reminder, we are on stolen land.

    Joshua Tree National Park is an otherworldly desert destination that climbers, hikers, and sight-seers come to set eyes on its beautiful boulders, landscape, and "spiky" trees. Since time immemorial, the Oasis of Mara (known as present-day Joshua Tree National Park) sustained Native American tribes including Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Serrano people, as well as the ancient Pinto culture.  

    As Indigenous People's month is celebrated throughout the states we thought we'd take the time to realign our connection to the land from one of dominance to one of reciprocity. When we hike, climb, or backpack let us be intentional in how we do so.

    Steps to take before/during your climbing trip:

     While you're on your climbing/hiking trip there are ways you can ensure you are being mindful of Indigenous culture, practices, and land. (This is by no means a comprehensive list and doing specific research on your local crags/areas is highly recommended before recreating outdoors.)

    1Is the area/crag sacred to Indigenous communities? If so, reach out to Indigenous leaders and/or conservation professionals who are aware of whether or not sharing specific geographic areas will negatively impact the area.
    👉WHY? Many of these areas do not have proper protection in place to handle a large amount of visitors.

    2Honor spaces that are specifically closed for Indigenous purposes. If you peruse through your Joshua Tree Bouldering Book or Black Mountain Bouldering book you'll find that there are crag areas that are completely closed to climbing/hiking. Respect these closures.

    Timeline of closure

    3. Understand that cultural sites/formations/structures are still used in traditional ceremonial practices todayAvoid touching or damaging rock art.

    4. Stay on marked trails.

    5. First Ascents and exploration are NOT more important than cultural resources.

    6. Understand that Indigenous communities exist in the present-day in various outdoor/urban areas.

    8Take time to understand Indigenous communities that are currently and have previously resided in that area.

    Source: @indigenousfieldguide. You can sign their pledge here.

    How to support Indigenous communities this month and every month:

    1. Do your research before going outdoors: an awesome all-around resource is the organization @indigenousfieldguide they provide public education on accessing the outdoors through an Indigenous lens.

    2. Connect with a land advisor: connect with Indigenous guides and advisors to help you navigate how to ethically recreate outdoors.

    3. Support Indigenous Brands/organizations: @nativesoutdoors, @indigenouswomxnart, @indigenousfieldguide @queernature @indigenouswomenhike @wildernesssociety

    4. Educate yourself. Here are some starting points: Which Indigenous lands are you on?Books written by Indigenous authorsNative American Art in Joshua TreeOrganization that is dedicated to conserving land in Twenty-Nine Palms,

    'As Long As Grass Grows' by Dina Gilo-Whitaker

    Join us for Monday Night Meetup Nov 21st:

    To show our support we will be hosting a raffle at Monday Night Meetup on November 21st in support of Native Women's Wilderness Fundraiser. For every dollar donated by Sender One members, they'll be entered to win an Edelrid Boa Eco 9.8mm 60m rope! You can participate at any of the Sender One locations. 

    Where to find more information about the organization: https://www.nativewomenswilderness.org/ 

    Where to donate to Native Women's Wilderness: https://www.betterunite.com/nativewomenswilderness-everest 

    Sign up for the event @ SNA here, LAX here, or Playa Vista here!

    Take home:

    When we advocate for public lands let us also advocate for the Native people who still feel the impact of 1492. People and land are inherently valuable and non-exploitable. When we evaluate our impact on the land and Indigenous communities we acknowledge that earth is not a commodity but a partner to us that we need to respect and give as much as we take.

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