“The whole trip I basically had to hide”: A Goffmanian Analysis of Erin Parisi and Negotiating the Gendered Mountaineering Space

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The aim of this chapter is to critically analyse Erin Parisi’s experiences as she attempts to become the first transgender person to summit the seven highest mountains on each continent through her ground-breaking TranSending7 project. Multiple, semi-structured Zoom interviews were conducted with Erin, exploring topic areas such as her experiences of mountaineering both before and after her transition, the role of gender when climbing, alongside the development of the TranSending7 project and changing the trans* narrative. All interview transcripts were subject to a reflexive thematic analysis process and were interpreted through a Goffmanian framework, drawing upon the concepts of impression management, stigma, and gender displays. Two themes were developed: (1) Going stealth: Defensive practices and maintaining invisibility and (2) Becoming a speaker: The gendered mountaineering space. The findings suggest that Erin engaged in performances when negotiating her identity within mountaineering spaces across the globe. Indeed, Erin’s performances revolved around managing aspects of her biography which could potentially ‘spoil’ her identity in various social situations, often resulting in a need to remain stealth to conceal her trans* status. With mountaineering being presented as a gendered space plagued with hegemonic masculinity, Erin’s experiences highlight how both she and others performed gender displays to manage the perceptions of audience members within social situations. However, Erin’s story is one of progression, as she moved to a position of voluntary disclosure, rising above the need to hide and remain stealth, unintentionally becoming a role model for other trans* individuals. It is hoped this chapter will further highlight the challenges and issues associated with the gendered mountaineering space, with Erin’s example encouraging individuals to critically reflect upon their experiences of negotiating this landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Politics and Change in Mountaineering
Subtitle of host publicationMoving Mountains
EditorsJenny Hall, Emma Boocock, Zoë Avner
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-29945-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-29944-5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameGlobal Culture and Sport Series
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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