Patagonia movie celebrates the inspiring journey of a trans climber
For the untrained eye, the Sedona rock climbing route called “East Coast Punch”Looks like a steep cliff of craggy rocks. Last February, Lor Sabourin was popular to Rock and ice, a popular climbing site, for becoming the first non-binary climber to climb the route with traditional climbing equipment. Some of the comments on the post inevitably turned to the debate over the legitimacy of both their realization and the very idea of non-binary and gender identification.
For Sabourin, it was a moving experience that embodied the daily challenges of many members of the trans community and illustrated what it means to be a highly visible member of that community. Now the 28-year-old takes that visibility further in a new film with Patagonia titled They, which debuts online today.
Patagonia has long used cinema and the excitement and lure of adventure sports to tackle larger issues, from fish farming (Artificial) and regenerative agriculture (Uninterrupted terrain) the protection of nature (Jumbo Wild) and renewable energies (We power). Here he takes this approach to gender identity and inclusion: showing how escalation and the climbing community is a microcosm of the adversity facing a marginalized group, and how this group is. treated in the world at large.
The film follows Sabourin as they plan and attempt a particularly difficult climb in the sandstones of northern Arizona, while recounting how they grew up and found solace and community in rock climbing. Sabourin knows that a Patagonian movie will only extend the light started by this Rock and ice article, as well as the potential backlash. But they also know that this kind of visibility is a necessary means to change mentalities.
“When you look at people in the trans community who are injured or murdered, it’s usually black trans people,” says Sabourin. “The fact that I am central male and also white means that when I am a victim of violence, it is more likely to be micro-attacks than a threat to my life. I’ve been physically abused, but I’m much less likely to experience it in this movie than anyone else. So if I can start the conversation and use some of my privileges to get the story told to change some hearts and minds and ultimately create more protection in the rock climbing community, it opens up space for other people in some of those more marginalized identities tell their stories.
By partnering with Patagonia, Sabourin says they saw first-hand how the company puts what it preaches into practice, such as training hundreds of people on gender inclusion in the workplace. . It has also made significant strides in creating safe spaces in retail stores and offices for gender inclusion. “What I’ve really noticed about Patagonia is that they’re ready to look into a problem, and rather than getting defensive about what they’re already doing, they’re looking for ways to do better, ”explains Sabourin. “It inspires me to address my own beliefs and limitations, and makes me feel really safe giving feedback and exploring ways we can all do better.”
As specific as Sabourin’s story is, they see the film’s message as broad. “At first glance, this might be seen as just a story about a trans person’s experience,” says Sabourin. “But really what we’re talking about in the movie are things that are universal human experiences: the desire to belong, the way we learn to manage our relationships, to go through difficult times, to take care of your sanity. These aren’t unique to the trans experience. Hope people watching it don’t just see it as a statement about how to support trans people more, but maybe be more compassionate towards everyone in their lives, and see our stories as a way to remind everyone that everyone is human, and how to support each other more assertively.