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This Trans Trail-Running Team Is Confronting Hatred with Joy

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With over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in the U.S. in 2022, this year is on track to break records for legislation directly targeting the rights of this community. Perry Cohen, founder of the Venture Out Project, saw what was happening and wanted to fight back—through running. A trans trail runner, Cohen had long dreamed of creating an all-transgender running team. With support from Black Diamond, he made the dream a reality earlier this year, inviting five masculine-identifying trail runners to join his group and train in Vermont and Massachusetts.

As the team noticed more anti-LGBTQ+ legislation mounting across the country, members decided to run races in states with some of the most restrictive bills to show their pride in their identity and their joy for running. “If you can put a face and a body and an identity to what trans is, it breaks down a lot of assumptions and attacks,” Cohen says. “All of a sudden, you’ve talked to a trans person, you know a trans person, you’ve met a trans person, and guess what? They’re just like you and me.”

Miles to Go, produced by Spruce Tone Films, shares the team’s story. Filmmaker James Saunders, who is also a director of operations and an instructor at the Venture Out Project, says he’s grateful to see a shift in storytelling about trans people. “It’s rare that we get to see ourselves reflected back as the complex, capable, powerful, and joyful humans we are,” he says. “I hope that we were able to share some of that, no matter how small, with those who watch the film.”