Patagonia’s new film They/Them is a 70-minute documentary about Lor Sabourin, an Arizona-based climber, guide and coach who identifies as trans and uses the pronouns “they”/ “them”.
“For Lor Sabourin, climbing is more than a sport, it’s a way of exploring identity and building resilience in the face of adversity”
For Lor Sabourin, climbing is more than a sport, it’s a way of exploring identity and building resilience in the face of adversity. They/Them follows climber Lor into the sandstone canyons of northern Arizona, on a journey to piece together one of the hardest and most inspiring routes of their life. By embracing the strength in vulnerability, Lor has found the space to thrive and build a climbing community that others like them can call home.
Lor Sabourin, Patagonia climb ambassador, said:
“I was introduced to climbing when I was about 12 years old. I started to realize it was a powerful resource for learning how to deal with stress, learn how to push the edge of my comfort zone and gain the resources that I needed to build a supportive community.
“Climbing has this amazing opportunity to provide safe space for gender non-conforming people to participate in sports because our sport isn’t as highly gendered as others, especially in the outdoor realm. These types of sports are really special at a time when so many trans people are being pushed out of sports, as they can create a framework for showing how we can be more inclusive.
“Climbing has this amazing opportunity to provide safe space for gender non-conforming people”
“I hope that this film paints a story of what sports can mean to a person who has experienced systems of oppression, and how it can give them a sense of safety in their body – and how being outside can be really liberating.
“I hope that you leave the film questioning what you can do to make your community feel safer, not just for trans people but for anyone that might be wondering whether they’re going to be safe.”
Justin Roth, Global Marketing Manager, Alpine & Rock Climbing, Patagonia, said:
“At Patagonia, we look to highlight stories that show the beauty of our planet and the athletes and activists that embrace its gifts. They/Them embodies each of these themes and goes one step further in opening our eyes to communities that are often overlooked in the outdoors space.
“It’s well documented and understood within the LGBTQ+ community that climbing, and the outdoor movement at large, has a lot of room to become more inclusive of marginalised groups. We are so excited to use our platform to help Lor share their story and mission. Our ambition is that it might help expand the idea of what it means to be a climber, foster a climbing community where all people are welcome, safe; and free to be their authentic selves.
“It’s well documented and understood within the LGBTQ+ community that climbing, and the outdoor movement… has a lot of room to become more inclusive”
“Patagonia understands the scale of the work we still have to do to make our sport and outdoor communities inclusive uplifting for all – but we are committed to this goal.”
Watch They/Them online at eu.patagonia.com/they-them. Here you can also view a global launch event featuring Lor, the filmmakers, and professional climber and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in the outdoors, Nikki Smith (available for one month).
About Lor Sabourin
Lor fell in love with climbing at a gym in Detroit, Michigan when they were twelve years old. As a young climber, they split their time between competitive climbing and exploring sandstone crags in the southeast. After graduating from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management, they began working in the climbing industry as a guide, gym manager, and coach.
They now are a Patagonia Ambassador and work full-time for The Warrior’s Way, traveling to teach clinics and working one-to-one with climbers of all levels.
Lor attended their first Warrior’s Way clinic as a teenager to address a fear of falling. They quickly realised that the processes they learned extended beyond the world of rock climbing. They are excited to share the mental training material with others as a tool for self-exploration and growth.
When they are not teaching, Lor spends their time traveling across North America to explore and climb. While they love all types of climbing, they are most at home on long desert cracks and steep sport routes.