Many of these issues can be easily remedied by companies offering more transparent indicators and alternatives. It’s not difficult for companies to become more inclusive … they just have to decide to do it.
“Fat people are not a monolith,” says Richmond. “Many of us are very active and have no issues with walking or stairs, but some people do have mobility issues. Being forthcoming with the activity level and sharing the details of the itinerary will help people of all sizes make the right travel choices for their bodies and abilities.”
This sentiment is echoed by Summer Michaud-Skog, who founded Fat Girls Hiking while out trekking with her former girlfriend along the Oregon coast. “We are queer, and fat, and women, and we don’t look like typical hikers,” says Michaud-Skog after experiencing leering from fellow hikers. This inspired the birth of her body-positivity community for outdoor enthusiasts.
Concerns range from slowing down group hikes, finding the right gear and outdoor clothing in her size, to hoping there are kayaks that can accommodate her. “I’m no longer waiting for brands or companies to include me—I’m creating it myself,” says Michaud-Skog.
While representation in the outdoors for marginalized people matters, having diversity in marketing campaigns is no longer enough. “There needs to be diverse people in decision-making roles within outdoor brands and companies,” adds Michaud-Skog. “In my ideal future, everyone will feel safe and welcomed in the outdoors.”
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