While I think the running community and trail running community are amazing and loving to others, there is a lot of inclusivity work to be done. In my personal coaching business, I coach a handful of trans-gender athletes and other queer men and women, and the stories I hear inspire me, but many also break my heart. Many don’t feel safe on trails or are nervous to present themselves in front of others. Shame has a strong hold on many LGBTQ folx. Quite explicitly, the invisibility of LGBTQ people is a barrier to entry for queer people in our sport.
It’s important to not let the fear of backlash from others stifle authentic self-expression, though. We need your queerness in our sport! My hope is that by talking more about my queerness on trails and within our sport, other folx can feel like they can express themselves, and ultimately, participate in running and trail running, too.
For the fellow LGBTQ+ runners out there, I am here for you and love you. I hope you consider me a safe space for you to share your thoughts or simply a soundboard for you. I am here for you.
If you are a closeted runner or beginning your LGBTQ+ journey, I see you. I am a safe space for you, too.
For my ally runners out there, thank you for your support and love. I hope you know how much your allyship means to the LGBTQ community, and that you can always consider me a resource for any question you may have.
For those who may be unsure how you feel about LGBTQ community or may not have LGBTQ friends or families in your life, let’s talk. Let’s learn from each other's experiences. Read LGBTQ stories with an open heart. We need allies who are not simply ‘supporters’ but rather co-conspirators to truly see that side of LGBTQ lived experiences. Let’s dismantle homophobia and strive to create a sport that allows everyone to show up as their best selves—we need and want you.
About the Author
Ryan Montgomery is an Altra Elite Team member, ultrarunner, & coach. Now living in Truckee, California, Ryan is committed to competing at a high level, growing the sport with other athletes and fostering diversity and inclusion in the sport of ultra-trail running.