On a Cross-Country Mission to Advocate for Trans Rights — Episode 132

By Cort Jones | Posted on March 21, 2023

Cal Dobbs 410

Pictured: Cal Dobbs (he/they). Photo by Julie A. Hotz.

Attacks targeting LGBTQ+ rights, and especially the rights of transgender youth, are currently taking place in state legislatures across the country. With bans on gender-affirming care for trans youth and the country’s first drag ban, numbers of anti-trans bills were recently introduced, with an alarming number of bills advancing in states across the country.

Many of these bills also are aimed at preventing transgender youth from participating in sports in ways that align with the gender with which they identify. These recent attacks on the trans community are an attack on human rights, and an attack on our mission to build inclusive, equitable communities where everyone can feel safe, feel like they belong, and ultimately, thrive.

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome someone who is taking their advocacy for trans rights across the country. Cal Dobbs is a queer transgender ultra marathoner and long-distance hiker who is running across America — from California to Florida — to fight for the inclusion of transgender people in sports and access to gender-affirming healthcare. What was once a childhood dream to run across the country is now a reality for Cal, but for something way bigger than they had ever imagined.

Cal also is the first known trans person to achieve the triple crown of hiking – that is, they thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail – so they are no stranger to extended adventures.

Tune in to our full conversation below to learn more about Cal’s story, how you can follow their run, and how park and recreation professionals can support this important mission. You’ll also learn:

  • How Cal’s relationship with physical activity and outdoor recreation began
  • What inspired Cal’s dream to run across the country
  • How Cal plans to make transformative connections with people across geographic, political and ideological lines in order to make lasting change
  • What kind of impact anti-trans legislation has on the trans community, as well as society as a whole
  • How park and recreation professionals can ensure they are building safe, inclusive communities where no one is excluded or required to face additional rules or scrutiny to fully participate, regardless of gender
  • The importance of community care, and so much more!

Listen to the episode for the full story.

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This episode of Open Space Radio is sponsored by CivicPlus® Recreation Management. Join thousands of other local governments as you empower your staff and enable residents to self-service their needs through your department with our industry-leading software. With more time to focus on community activity programming and park and facility maintenance, staff can foster more significant resident engagement and improve the civic experience. Learn more.