In honor of Pride Month, a woman is on the mission to hike a trans pride flag up 115 mountains in the Northeastern U.S.
At the beginning of June, Reddit user Veronica Ashcroft (u/verana115) shared a post on the website’s Rainbow forum, which detailed her trip up Franconia Ridge, in New Hampshire, the third set of peaks that she scaled. The post includes pictures of Ashcroft proudly presenting her trans pride flag at one mountain peak.
Ashcroft explained her journey up the Franconia Ridge in a comment. The hike involved Ashcroft’s scaling six different peaks in the range, with the trip spanning 27 miles. It took Ashcroft 13 hours to complete her trek.
“The hike was absolutely stunning, and I loved every second I was on the ridge,” Ashcroft wrote.
Reddit users are amazed by Ashcroft’s strength and dedication.
“Yes, yes, yes, INCREDIBLE!!! This is such a cool idea and we need more queer visibility outdoors,” a Redditor commented.
“I’m deeply moved, thank you for everything you have done. Transgender people are so proud and happy for Veronica,” another Reddit user said.
On her profile, Ashcroft also shared a post explaining her project’s meaning. Her mission to hike a trans pride flag up the Northeast 115 — “a peak-bagging list of 4,000-foot mountains in the Northeast” — is her way to increase positive transgender visibility. In Ashcroft’s words, increasing trans visibility is a key part of what the LGBTQ community needs to do to “fight back” against acts of hatred, discrimination and violence.
“I identify strongly with the trans pride flag because I consider my transness to be the most important aspect to my queer identity,” Ashcroft wrote. “I honestly don’t know what to do in the face of such vicious hatred, but I do know that increasing trans visibility can’t hurt. And I know this is ultimately a small project I’m taking on, but if I’m going to take it on with who I am and with how the world is treating people like me right now, it’s gonna be with a trans pride flag.”
Reddit users can keep up with Ashcroft’s hiking journey through her profile. Her most recent achievement is scaling three peaks within Mount Tripyramid, located in Waterville Valley, N.H.
“I love how much fun you’re always having in these pictures!” a Redditor commented.
“Keep fighting, queen. You and your message are so, so important,” another said.
In The Know also got in touch with Ashcroft to learn more about her mission, activism and what pride means to her. Ashcroft told In The Know that the motivation behind her pride flag project comes from wanting to set a positive example for young trans people. For Ashcroft, pop culture’s stigmas toward the trans community pressured her to hide her identity throughout her youth. Now that Ashcroft has overcome society’s pressures and proudly identifies as a trans woman, she wants to inspire young members of the trans community and provide more positive representation online.
“I am an open and proud trans woman, but I often wonder how much different my life could have gone if I had a more positive exposure to queer people when I was younger,” Ashcroft said. “I believe positive visibility for queer people is one of the most important aspects of pride, and my experiences over the last year of transitioning have shown me just how needed pride is.”
A hiking enthusiast, Ashcroft already planned to have an active summer peak-bagging in the Northeast. She explained that combining her activism with her outdoor hobbies was a spontaneous decision; still, she is incredibly proud of the positive impact she has made on Reddit’s LGBTQ community and glad to represent trans people in the outdoors.
“Here we are, 49 peaks later and still going strong, and I can honestly say that this is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time,” Ashcroft said. “I don’t know how many people may be impacted by my project here, but even if just a few people are motivated to do cool things as a result, it will have been worth it.”
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