LGBT+ History Month: Erin Parisi
This LGBT+ History Month we’re celebrating remarkable individuals that have done extraordinary things in Antarctica.
We begin with Erin Parisi; not pulled from the depths of history books but rather someone we look to as creating historic moments here and now. Her achievement as the first mountaineer to raise the transgender Pride flag on the peak of Vinson Massif, Antarctica’s highest mountain, on 26 December 2021 is an exciting and poignant moment for Erin, the trans community and Antarctica.
Before embarking on her challenge in Antarctica, Erin said “I have a curiosity and fearful apprehension envisioning the cold unpopulated expanses of Antarctica. I’ve traveled to the tip of South America, and even then didn’t come close to the harsh conditions I’ll face here. The wind-swept, high altitude and desolate expanses within Antarctica will provide the harshest environment I’ll ever face. Even having spent a large amount of my life mountaineering high peaks in Colorado, and having seen those peaks in the dead of winter, I have never experienced any temperature challenge near those posed by Vinson. I only imagine it will be the closest to visiting another planet that I will ever face.”
Pictured: Erin Parisi raising the transgender Pride flag, Vinson Massif, 26 December 2021
Erin’s landmark moment at the summit of Vinson Massif came as part of an ambitious challenge to be the first trans woman to climb the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Raising the flag atop Antarctica’s impressive peak was a moment of personal celebration, in dedication to the trans community. Naturally, the flag made its way back down Vinson Massif with Erin to ensure Antarctica’s spectacular peak was left just as it had been found; preserving Antarctica’s landscape for native wildlife, fellow adventurers and future explorers.
Posting on her Instagram page, Erin said: “I’m dedicating this to the resilience of the trans community - The community that took me in when I had no hope, and showed me that it’s better to be visible and free, than live in self imposed exile, and that stigma withers when we visibly embrace our truth.”