Drag queen and climate activist Pattie Gonia among National Geographic’s travellers of the year

Artist, environmentalist, and drag queen Pattie Gonia was recognised by National Geographic for helping LGBTQ+ youth appreciate the outdoors.

Photo of drag queen Pattie Gonia posing with a Climate Action sign, she was named one of the National Geographic travellers of the year.
Image: X @pattiegonia

Every year, National Geographic identifies travel industry leaders who inspire others to explore the world authentically and meaningfully, and this year, drag queen Pattie Gonia was one of the nine people recognised as a traveller of the year.

Pattie Gonia is a drag queen, artist, and environmentalist also known as Wyn Wiley. She describes her drag style as, “campy, witty, sustainable, and unapologetic. A lady in the streets but a freak on the peaks”. The gay Nebraskan identifies herself as a professional homosexual and queer environmentalist who builds community for LGBTQ+ people and their allies.

She was recognised for helping LGBTQ+ youth appreciate the outdoors and for her activism. Indeed, one of her core messages is to increase the pressure on world leaders who ignore climate change just for the sake of some profit.

On TikTok, she creates uplifting and insightful videos that tackle topics like environmental justice, Pride, and self-love. She also shares her innovative sustainable outfits, using her platform to persuade her followers to be more environmentally conscious.



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A post shared by Pattie Gonia (@pattiegonia)

Every year, Pattie fundraises to send ten queer youths on a fully paid backpacking trip. She remembered one of the attendees who shared how much the group and the experience meant to them. While sitting around the campfire, they shared that being able to participate in the trip helped them reclaim the childhood they never got to have.

Pattie also founded the nonprofit Outdoorist Oath, which brings the queer community together in the parks and wild spaces of Oregon, her home state. The Outdoorist Oath represents a commitment to care for the environment and to “support our planet, inclusion, and adventure.”

She invites every outdoor enthusiast to think about the intersections of the earth, inclusion, and adventure. Everyone who signs the oath is encouraged to identify how they can show up for the planet in their own outdoor adventures. 



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A post shared by The Outdoorist Oath (@outdooristoath)

Pattie Gonia said she was honoured to be recognised among National Geographic’s list of “explorers, boundary breakers, and change makers.”

Every person named by National Geographic shared their favourite travel philosophies on how to be a better traveller. Pattie said her favourite tip is to “Get up before the sun rises. Go out, walk about, and watch the world wake up.”

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