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Queer athlete scales K2 to empower others

Words by Tess Becker

There’s a video game called Celeste with a trans protagonist named Madeline whose goal is to climb a mountain, overcoming the personification of her own self-doubt and insecurity along the way. 

The game is a wonderful example of what it's like to live while queer, dealing with mental health struggles, and manifesting your problems as one gigantic mountain to climb, overcome and conquer.

Now Aidan Hyman, a queer athlete, has succeeded in a similar mission in real life. They celebrated turning 20 by climbing the world’s second-tallest mountain to plant a Pride flag near its summit in a country where same-sex acts are against the law. 

The mountain, K2 is in Pakistan, where same-sex acts between men are punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment from two years to life. Under Sharia law in the country, homosexual acts can also be punishable by whipping or death.

The climb up K2 was a statement for Hyman who hasn’t always felt like he belonged being a queer athlete, as well as standing up for queer people worldwide, showing that they “belong.”

“Whether it’s training for an Ironman, an ultramarathon, or one of the seven summits – I train for every queer kid that dreams of their own mountains,” he told Pink News. “I hope my passions can help inspire others on their journey and maybe provide more space to queer athletes along the way.”

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

GLAAD. GLAAD is a massive LGBTQ+ advocacy group that helps fight for queer people across the US. Consider donating

Lambda Legal. This organization helps fight in the courtroom for queer people. Find out more.

The Trevor Project. They focus on suicide prevention and mental health support for queer youth. Support them here

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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