Erin Parisi is one step closer to her goal of becoming the first out trans woman to reach the highest mountain on each continent, a feat known as the Seven Summits. The trans flag waving proudly from Vinson Massif, the highest peak on Antarctica, proves it.
Parisi summited Vinson Massif just after Christmas, according to an Instagram post the climber published yesterday. She wrote that she dedicated her achievement “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.”
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Parisi has completed five of the summits in her bid to become the first out trans woman to reach all seven. With Vinson Massif now checked off the list, she has only two more to go: Mount Denali in North America and Mount Everest in Asia.
In her post, Parisi likened her literal mountain-climbing to the metaphorical mountains trans individuals must climb every day. “We’ve been pushed down, often beat up, and faced every kind of coldness through our lives – our resilience keeps us rising to the top,” she wrote, adding that trans individuals faced numerous obstacles in 2021, including bans on access to health care and athletic teams.
“This is my answer to a world that lashed out at trans lives in 2021,” she wrote. “You can try to push me down to the bottom of the world, and I’ll still find a way to the top. I won’t settle to be pushed into shadows. Aim higher haters … .”
Parisi is the founder of TranSending, a non-profit organization that promotes visibility of trans athletes. According to the organization’s website, the seven summits campaign, or TranSending7, “was born from the simple idea that – with the support of community – transgender athletes could improve their mental health, and accomplish seemingly impossible goals.”
In her next bid, for Mount Everest, Parisi would become the first known trans person to reach the world’s tallest mountain.