This episode I’m joined by a very special guest and pal of mine Riley Edwards.
Riley (they/them) is one of the founding members of ClimbingQTs and has been climbing since 2013. What started as an obsession has now taken over their entire life and they’re okay with that.
When they’re not climbing, they work as a Diversity and Inclusion Advisor within the higher education sector, volunteer at an animal sanctuary and as a peer counsellor.
They love nothing more than seeing others find their place in climbing whether it’s at the gym or out on the rocks.
Riley has used climbing particularly Bouldering, Lead Climbing and Trad (aka Traditional) Climbing to help them connect with their body and create healthier more active habits within their life.
I’ve found a sense of balance and calm in climbing
Climbing has not only helped Riley develop their physical health but also their mental health.
Because the focus and calm that they have developed when approaching, they have learned to draw on in their daily life.
For instance, when they have felt anxiety in a social situation they ask themselves:
- Why am I feeling scared?
- Why am I seizing up?
- Can I separate myself from the situation?
So, by asking these questions Riley has been able to better manage potentially stressful moments.
One of the reasons the climbing QTs were founded was due to the lack of representation of TGD folks in the climbing and outdoor activity space.
So over the past 3 years the QTs has evolved in multiple ways. All of which focus on supporting the TGD community.
Firstly, the QTs offer TGD folks who are curious about climbing, social events, formal training and development programs. Secondly, they work in the TGD inclusion space, advocating for accessible climbing spaces for TGD folks.
And their hard work is paying off.
Riley and the QTs have teamed up with a number of privately owned climbing spaces around Melbourne.
As a result of their partnerships, these spaces are continually developing more inclusive practices that invite people from the TGD community in.
Because of the successes the QTs are having in these smaller spaces, it’s led to further opportunities at a state level with Sports Climbing Victoria.
As a result of their continued advocacy work, Sports Climbing Victoria have created new climbing category. The category is know as the inclusive category. It’s available in Victorian state climbing competitions.
The inclusive category is open to any climber that does not define themselves within the binary.
I’ve come to learn that the TGD community has some of the most courageous, passionate and inspiring people shaping change for the benefit of all of us. Riley is one of these people.
If you’re enjoying the show and know other folks that may find some benefit in having a listen, I’d be so grateful if you shared your favourite episode or any episode, with them.