Out in the Wild: LGBTQ+ Inclusion Outdoors

graphic with title: out in the wild lgbtq+ inclusion outdoors. With three images of: jenny bruso, brianna cunningham and stephen shelesky

Out in the Wild webinar


The outdoors provides a space for many to find solace, adventure or a deep connection with the world. But for members of the LGBTQ+ community, navigating outdoor spaces has not always been a positive experience due to lack of acceptance and discrimination.

Fortunately, a growing number of LGBTQ+ outdoor communities and individuals have emerged across the United States, fostering inclusivity, support and a sense of belonging. These people are breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes and creating safe outdoor spaces where LGBTQ+ individuals can fully embrace their identities while enjoying the wonders of nature. You can check some of those groups here, with our LGBTQ+ outdoor groups map!

In this webinar held on July 31, 2023, we talked to three inspiring LGBTQ+ individuals — Jenny Bruso (she/they), Brianna Cunningham (she/her), Stephen Shelesky (he/him) — in outdoor recreation about their love of the outdoors and how we can create more inclusive, loving spaces together!


Brianna Cunningham (she/her) 

Brianna has been hiking and camping since grade school but only recently started calling herself a “hiker”. Monday-Friday she works at a local community college where she oversees the STEM Tutoring Center and weekends she is out exploring as much of SoCal as she can from mountains to beaches to the desert. Education has always been her passion so over the years she's been slowly working on a plan for an outdoor school/program that will service inner city kids. 

Jenny Bruso (she/they) 

Jenny Bruso (she/her/they/them) is a queer, fat, femme, writer, hiker and founder of Unlikely Hikers, a diverse, anti-racist, body-liberating outdoor community and nationwide hiking group for folks of all identities. It’s a growing community of over 79,000 people, but it’s more than just a social media platform. Jenny leads hikes all over the country! 

Stephen Shelesky (he/him) 

Stephen Shelesky is a commercial outdoors photographer who connects people, product, and place through creative imagery. His imagery is vibrant, happy, colorful, and reflects his mission to bring positivity and inspiration to others'; lives. Stephen is openly gay and proud to be a part of the LGBTQ+; community, weaving an additional layer of depth into his work. Since coming out, he has prioritized storytelling that promotes the outdoors as a space that uplifts, accepts, and includes everybody.