Every June, communities across the country gather to celebrate and raise awareness for LGBTQ+ equality. This June marks the 52nd year of celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride traditions, and while we’ve come a long way, there is still more work to be done to help raise and amplify the under-represented voices and continue to diversify the outdoors.
This month, we want to help you add more color to your Instagram feed by elevating some of the LGBTQ+ outdoor advocates that you should be following. It doesn’t matter whether you own or rent an RV, or you prefer to spend your nights in a tent under the stars. Let’s join together and be one unified outdoorsy community. Adventure is always better when you’ve got more people on your side.
If you have a love of hiking, flowery dresses (sometimes paired together), and real-life stories of RV living, it will be hard to put down your phone after following Wander Free and Queer. Wander Free and Queer is an Instagram account packed with stories depicting what life is like for queer, full-time RVers, Allie and Danella, and their nomadic, furry companions Teton and Sierra.
Life isn’t perfect, so why only showcase life’s perfect moments? Allie, a full-time teacher, and sober-living advocate, and her fiancé, Danella, a yarn-loving, rainbow-crocheting entrepreneur and teacher, take their roles as advocates for the RVing LGTBQ+ seriously. Their photo and story feed share what it is like to be queer, full-time travelers, addressing even the most sensitive of subjects. Why? Because they want to see more LGBTQ+ outdoor and travel enthusiasts represented in the media.
I am a long-time follower (and fan) of Wander Free and Queer, and while I could try and paraphrase the power of their feed, I knew that Allie and Danella could better articulate their message to the world. When I asked them to tell me the motivation behind Wander Free and Queer, they said:
We use our Instagram platform to document what it’s like to be a queer full-time traveler. We hope this motivates others in the LGBTQ+ population to pursue a similar lifestyle, but it also serves as a space to educate cis-gendered, heteronormative folks about some of the unique challenges we face as a same-sex couple engaged in the outdoor and travel lifestyle.Wander Free and Queer
Break out your phones and prepare to spend a chunk of time scrolling through Daddy and Papa’s entire photo feed. Within just a few photos, we bet that you will become utterly smitten with this adorable family and their pictures of love, diversity, and travel.
Daddy and Papa beautifully depict the love of an American family who documents their lives while traveling in their Airstream. Outdoor advocates, Daddy (Jonathan), Papa (Thomas), Grace, and Charlotte, use their Instagram and other social media platforms to openly share their stories of love, adoption, and family while increasing the public’s acceptance of LGBTQ+ families.
Every moment we are visible as a family and every moment we share our story, we hope, will pave the way for future generations of the LGBTQ+ community, just like those did who came before us.Daddy and Papa
Who doesn’t love photos of hiking, biking, skiing, paddling, climbing, and all things outdoors? The best part about The Venture Out Project’s feed is that it is diverse. Instagrammers won’t be able to contain their smiles when they see images of people representing all walks of life enjoying themselves in the great outdoors.
The Venture Out Project is a platform that supports the safety and the inclusivity of the queer and trans community by facilitating backpacking and wilderness trips that spawn friendship and build trust within a like-minded community of people. The goal? To provide a safe space where both LGBTQ+ youth and adults will have fun, gain confidence, and learn leadership elements.
In addition to the fun outdoor activities, The Venture Out Project provides educational opportunities for educators, adventure professionals, and other organizations who want inclusion training and support.
It’s no secret that the LGBTQ+ community is under-represented in the outdoor world. The only way to help build love and help connect adventure-seeking LGBTQ+ folks with nomadic allies is to bridge the gap and develop a safe online gathering space. Van Life Pride is that space, and by scrolling through the photos, it’s easy to see why Van Life Pride is worth following.
Van Life Pride celebrates queer van life, but you don’t have to have a van (or bus, RV, or trailer) to fall head over heels for the concept. The voices behind Van Life Pride, Natalie and Abigail, married, full-time travelers, are no strangers to Instagram.
Their page, Let’s Play Ride and Seek, has over 30,000 followers, and their message is clear. Get outside. Explore. LOVE (LOVE). Have PRIDE in what moves you.
Get The Conversations Rolling: Connect with LGBTQ+ Outdoor Advocates
So, what are you waiting for? Slide the van door over, pull up a folding chair, take off your hiking boots, pour yourself a beverage, and have a real conversation with a few of the LGBTQ+ outdoor advocates. There is no better time than now to show your PRIDE or your willingness to support and empower the LGBTQ+ nomadic community than now.