The space between two closets: Erin Parisi mountaineering and changing the trans* narrative

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Erin Parisi is attempting to become the first trans* person to ascent the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, through her project TranSending 7. Erin seeks to create alternative trans* narratives that are based on the possibility of positive futures, as opposed to negative tropes of a limited life from the decision to transition. Multiple semi-structured interviews were conducted with Erin to understand her experiences and how narratives she hopes to present, not only impact upon her own sense of self, health and well-being but also present opportunities for others. Data were analysed via reflexive thematic analysis. Analysis highlights for Erin a paradox for many trans* people in moving from one closet to another, where being invisible as a trans* person is the ultimate goal. Erin’s desire to shape positive trans* narratives acknowledge the gendering practices that take place within the climbing community and a sense of her having to ‘earn the right to climb’. Erin’s endeavours demonstrate an alternative way individuals can be situated ‘in the sunshine’ between these two spaces, where personal growth is not only possible but rich, meaningful, and progressive. In drawing upon theoretical concepts informed by possible selves theory, this research seeks to untangle the gendered space of the mountain for shaping positive and transformational trans* narratives for individuals positioned within these gendered boundaries. It also seeks to identify stronger and more positive possible futures for other trans* people and youth.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport, Education and Society
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jan 2022

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