The Venture Out Project
The Venture Out Project promotes equity, justice, and belonging through facilitated backpacking and wilderness trips for the queer and trans community in a safe and inclusive environment. Our trips and participants shift the current culture of the outdoor industry simply by existing and being visible. Whether it’s camping trips in New England, queer trail work crews in Yellowstone, or rafting trips in Utah, our community offers LGBTQ+ folks opportunity to get outside, find community, build connections, and become leaders as their authentic selves.
We believe our role in creating change in the outdoor industry lies in our ability to provide education and support to help outdoor organizations affirm and celebrate their LGBTQ+ community members. Our advocacy and activism build more inclusive and affirming infrastructure and policies and expand opportunities for LGBTQ+ folks to gain employment and assume positions of leadership.
We are intentional and outspoken about being trans-led and having a queer staff. Perry Cohen, founder and executive director of The Venture Project, shares, “One of the biggest barriers is simply not seeing people like ourselves outdoors.” This captures one of the everyday realities LGBQT+ people experience when venturing outdoors. Perry realized a lifelong dream of combining his love of the outdoors, a commitment to social justice, his own trans and queer identity, and his professional life when he founded The Venture Out Project. “The fear of being harassed for who I was, that was very real and, unfortunately, was realized at times,” he recalls. “Sometimes it was a look or off-hand comments. Other times it was a direct confrontation about who I was and what I was doing outdoors, as if they have every right to be in the space and I had none.” Every bit of the work we do is informed by our mission to make the outdoors more accessible and inclusive of LGBTQ+ people and our vision of a world where queer, trans, and LGBTQ+ youth and adults create community, develop leadership skills, and gain confidence through the shared experience of outdoor adventure and physical activity.
To learn more, visit https://www.ventureoutproject.com