For much of her life, Erin Parisi felt that she needed to hide – hide who she is, hide who she wanted to be, hide what she wanted out of life. But in recent years, especially since coming out as a transgender woman, Erin channeled her energy into living her life.
“I now had a renewed strength from accomplishing something I never thought possible,” Erin said. She thought about her goals surrounding athletics and the outdoors, and she set her sights on an ambitious mission: Climb the Seven Summits, or the highest mountain in every continent. Around 400 climbers have achieved the goal – but if Erin meets her goal, she’ll be the first known transgender person to do so.
Now, she’s proud to work with Athlete Ally as an Ambassador, fighting for greater inclusion and equality in sports. “Through visibility, awareness and education, we hope to expand athletic opportunities for trans people and create safe places in the outdoors and sports where trans people can gain vital life skills,” she said. “The world has often celebrated the successes of, and mourned the loss of, those who aspired to lift their communities through mountaineering. In many ways, I hope to do the same. … In sports, we look to forge a positive narrative in the hopes that nobody will ever have to face the isolation I faced. Having spent my life relegated to shadows, I now see these summits as the only places where no shadows exist. They represent the highest points where I can stand unashamed, strong and confident in who I am, and announce to the world, ‘I will not hide!’”