Mountain-Climbing Mixed With Queer Activism: Pink Summits Takes LGBTQ Visibility to New Heights
Pink Summits, a campaign organized by queer mountaineers, is taking LGBTQ visibility to new heights.
The mission is straightforward: Climb the highest mountains of each continent (the Seven Summits) and plant a rainbow flag at the top of each one. On the way, document the journey, organize climbing activist workshops and raise awareness for LGBTQ people worldwide. Through this project, the activists of Pink Summits are not only drawing attention to the fundamental beauty and dignity of our existence as queer people but also highlighting the importance of community and togetherness within LGBTQ spheres.
So why mountains? Activist and founder Dastan Kasmamytov tells Hornet, “Mountains were a place for me to collect internal powers and strength during my LGBT+ activism. I was able to fight against my burn out and reflect on my activism. Mountains were also a safe heaven for me where I could escape from injustice and violence. Now, mountains are not only a place of escape and renewal, but also our common pride. We show that despite of all the injustice and hatred we face, we continue to fight and bring LGBT+ visibility across the Globe.”
Though mountain-climbing is itself no easy task, many of the hurdles faced by Pink Summits come from old-fashioned homophobia and discrimination. When the team crossed the border between Russia and Georgia, they were detained and interrogated by Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service). And after successfully climbing Mount Elbrus with the rainbow flag in hand, they received hateful comments and death threats.
In response, the group starts a fundraiser for every negative comment they receive. Half of the donations will go toward Pink Summits, and the other half will go to LGBTQ+ initiatives in Central Asia and Russia.
Despite such hardships, working on Pink Summits has been immensely rewarding.
Dastan notes “the feeling of pride while standing on the summits above the skies and clouds with a rainbow flag in your hands after all the physical and social difficulties we have faced as individuals, as a team, and as a rainbow community.”
“However, also to receive tons of supporting messages around the world, especially from countries where being queer is punishable by law and societal norms, it is great to hear that we are capable of inspiring and strengthening morale and pride of queer people.”