Two women on the beach in athletic clothes from a brand that is LGBTQ-friendly
Brands,  Gear,  LGBTQIA Allies

10 Outdoor Brands That are LGBTQ-Friendly All Year Round

This Pride Month, we’re shining a light on the outdoor brands That are LGBTQ-friendly all year round, rather than those that come after our pink dollars only during June!

The 10 brands listed here have all taken action in direct support of LGBTQIA lives.

They go beyond the Pride-themed merchandise and donate money directly to LGBTQ-led organizations. They’ve made statements of support on gay marriage and trans rights. They recognize the ways that marginalized groups including LGBTQ folks have historically been made to feel unwelcome and unsafe outdoors, and they’re working for change.

Some of these brands have legacies of supporting queer folks that stretch back over a decade.

Outdoor gear is expensive. So when we’re putting a good chunk of change down on needed equipment, why not give that money to an outdoor brand with a track record of standing up for equality?

If I missed one of your favorite queer-friendly outdoor brands, please let me know – I’d love to grow this into an inclusive shopping guide for LGBTQ travelers.

Arc’teryx

Outdoors brand Arc’teryx supports the queer community in several ways. They’ve directly supported LGBTQ+ athletes and ambassadors, like climber Jordan Cannon.

In 2022, the company donated $50,000 to five LGBTQ+ organizations including:

  • QuICK Climb Boston, a queer climbing group in Boston that’s trying to launch local gear libraries to make the sport more inclusive
  • Get Out and Trek, which offers outdoor trips and education for queer people
  • The Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes DC-area Pride events
  • Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, a DC-area LGBTQ youth leadership training program
  • Team DC, a DC-area organization that advocates for LGBTQ team sports participation

In 2021, they updated their restroom signs with inclusive language to make Arc’teryx a safer place to work for LGBTQ employees.

Brooks

Running shoe company brooks has been partnering with International Front Runners, a global network of LGBTQ+ running clubs, for the last 3 years. They’ve given support grants to five Front Runners chapters to help them improve their outreach.

In a statement announcing the partnership, Brooks CEO Jim Weber said he believes running is “the most inclusive sport ever known.”

Brooks has also sponsored LGBTQ outdoor adventurer Mikah Meyer, who runs across states not known for being LGBTQ-friendly to raise awareness of queer issues.

Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear supported the movement to overturn the ban on gay marriage in Oregon in 2013. Later, the CEO joined the public protests around discriminatory hiring practices at a Catholic school that wanted to rescind a job offer when they realized a new hire was a lesbian. One dollar from every sale of the brand’s “Diversitree” line goes to support LGBTQ+ educational organization GLSEN.

Columbia owns these other outdoor brands you can feel good about supporting:

  • Mountain Hardwear
  • SOREL
  • prAna

Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer quietly debuted gender-neutral clothing options earlier this year. Their gender neutral clothes are on the limited side and trend toward outerwear like sweatshirts and jackets. Some of the pieces come from a recent collaboration with A$AP Rocky, who calls Eddie Bauer “an iconic brand with rich heritage” when speaking about the pocket collection.

Eddie Bauer also sponsors the One Outside Film Grant Program, which gives $10,000 grants to filmmakers whose voices are underrepresented in the outdoors. The 2022 grant winners includes many QTBIPOC creators!

Nike

Nike has received a perfect score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for 18 years. As times have changed, they’ve stayed at the forefront of advocating for LGBTQ equality and creating an inclusive workplace. That’s really something to celebrate.

2022 is the 10th year Nike has issued a Be True collection for the queer community. This collection is designed and managed by Nike designers who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and the company’s PRIDE Network, an affiliation group for LGBTQIA employees.

Since 2017, the athletic wear company has donated $2.2 million to LGBTQIA causes. Converse, a Nike subsidiary, has given more than $1 million to queer causes since 2015.

For 2022, Nike is giving $625,000 in grants to nonprofits that elevate queer history, grow safe spaces for LGBTQ people and advocate for LGBTQ+ participation in sports, much-needed advocacy given recent anti-trans legislation!

In their local community, Nike supports an LGBTQ health clinic and an organization that serves homeless queer youth.

REI

In a time of escalated anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ legislation, REI has made a public commitment to support trans people. But their track record of queer and trans allyship and inclusion stretches back years.

Each year, REI gives over $500,000 in donations to organizations working for LGBTQIA equality, including The Venture Our Project. They’ve passed the mic to LGBTQ outdoor adventurers on their blog, a move that helps the broader outdoor community understand both the challenges LGBTQ people often face outdoors and the queer joy we find in connecting with nature. They’re also a sponsor of the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit, which advocates for LGBTQ inclusion in the outdoors.

Under Armour

Under Armour is proof that progress is possible. They continued to sell Duck Dynasty merch after the show’s cast members went on a homophobic rant, literally raking in the dough from LGBTQ oppression. In 2016, the CEO endorsed Donald Trump, landing the company on progressives’ shit lists.

Now, they get a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index from HRC. The bigoted CEO is gone, and his replacement tweeted in support of the SCOTUS decision affirming workplace equality for LGBTQ+ people.

Brands We’re on the Fence About 

Just as we want to support outdoor brands that are LGBTQ-friendly, we should know which outdoor brands have let us down. 

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean got in hot water when the founder’s granddaughter, Linda Bean, donated $60,000 to Trump’s campaign. 

The company defended Bean’s actions and expressed disappointment in a consumer boycott resulting from Bean’s donation. 

L.L. Bean released a statement reading: 

“L.L.Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, we stay out of politics.” 

Given the backlash to LGBTQ rights and the demonstrated harm it causes queer people, brands that stay out of politics signal they don’t value our safety.  

In terms of inclusivity, L.L. Bean is actually a pretty solid place to work. HRC rated L.L. Bean a 90/100 on the 2022 Corporate Equality Index, which compares the LGBTQ-inclusive benefits, policies, and behavior of big companies. 

  • 30/30 on workplace protections
  • 25/30 on benefits with points deducted for differences in the medical and soft benefits offered to same-sex vs. opposite-sex domestic partners
  • 35/40 on supporting inclusion and social responsibility given their disinterest in LGBTQ corporate social responsibility. 

Where they fall down is the social responsibility stuff. That’s taking a stand when communities and states pass oppressive laws that take us back to the don’t ask don’t tell era of discrimination and fear.

I’d much rather buy from outdoor brands that are LGBTQ-friendly than one that would rather say nothing in the face of injustice.

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