Transgender athlete Silas Musick: “Nothing fought my numbness like the mountains”

On March 31—International Transgender Day of Visibility—advocate and athlete Silas Musick shared the powerful, beautiful story of his transition during a presentation to the staff of Outside.

Silas Musick is a happy man. He’s one of those people who just radiates warmth. One of those people you want to be besties with. To climb with, hike with, hang out with. But he wasn’t always so happy. Silas’ story of coming out and transitioning is both heartbreaking and inspiring. After a suicide attempt in 2010, he was resuscitated by his wife, then underwent years of therapy. 

One crucial part of his healing was being outside. “Nothing fought my numbness like the mountains,” he said during a packed presentation on International Transgender Day of Visibility 2021 hosted by Outside. Musick, who recently completed all 58 Colorado 14ers, shared that it was the burn in his legs and lungs during a climb, the cold air, the wind, and the rain on his face that brought him out of his depression and allowed him “to see the world in color again.”

Since transitioning, Musick, who holds a master’s degree from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, has studied the androgynous leadership styles of queer leaders. In his master’s thesis, he demonstrates that the most successful leaders move between feminine (relational) and masculine (task-oriented) styles, depending on the situation and what’s most effective, he says. Read Musick’s complete thesis here.

Listen to the talk

We invite you to listen to Silas’ inspiring talk about transitioning, which is brimming with personal stories and tips for creating a culture of inclusivity.