WELCOME!

I am a fourth-generation Oregonian raised on a small farm in a conservative lumber town in Central Oregon where a traditional family is the norm. Throughout my childhood I raised 4-H cattle, worked as a farmhand, and was taught what it meant to be a "traditional man" from my father and brother. On the other hand, my mother instilled empathy and compassion towards other people. This range of viewpoints built the foundation of who I am today.

In my professional life, I have dedicated my career to public service in urban planning. I am passionate about trails, parks and environmental stewardship and ever since I was a child, I spent every moment I could outdoors. Whether it was caring for animals and farm critters, exploring a new trail, or just escaping the depression and struggles of my non-conforming sexuality, it was in nature that I was able to find my true identity. With this perspective, I am dedicated to helping others by sharing my story on overcoming depression, anxiety, and trauma, and promoting an inclusive and diverse world where everyone is inspired to be their authentic selves.

 

I am pleased to offer inspiring insight through storytelling and by advocating positive mental health while building resilience and creating a full, happy life that is unique to the world of LGBTQ+ individuals. Through public speaking and workshops, I am looking for opportunities to help your organization or group with:

  • Promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion

  • Advocating positive mental health and overall wellbeing

  • Helping individuals navigate the LGBTQ+ landscape of today’s world

The bottom line is YOU ARE NOT ALONE and I am here to help. I look forward to hearing from you!

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MY JOURNEY

As a child growing up in Oregon in a conservative rural community, diversity wasn't the mainstay. After high school I relocated with my family to Phoenix Arizona where I came out as gay. The juxtaposition between a rural traditional upbringing to a large metropolitan area with vibrant LGBTQ community was a bit intense. The combination of obstacles during my youth created a significant level of hyper-vigilance leading to a high level of constant anxiety and severe depression. 

In my late 20's I started on a journey of trying to understand and manage these complex struggles with mental health.  Learning the tools and perspectives to combat anxiety, hyper-vigilance, depression, body dis-morphia, anger, and a few other afflictions became my mission.

 

In 2018 I was cast in the feature-length documentary "Who's on Top Doc." a story about LGBTQ people sharing their (our) personal mountains while training and climbing Mt. Hood. During the filming, I was confronted with revisiting 30+ years of personal trauma. This became one of several catalysts to start a new journey. Since the film, I have started to share my experience to foster others to start their own journey of healing and acknowledging mental health issues. This process of telling my story has been resonating with many people inspiring me to continue speaking about my experience with anxiety, hyper-vigilance, depression, and the tools I use to manage them. 

 

Thank you for visiting my page and blog. Please contact me for more information about my story or interest in being part of your projects!  

 

 

PROJECTS

The group 10,000 ft at Devil's Kitchen, Mt. Hood

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Shanita and Ryan contemplating a climb

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Prepping for practice run

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The group 10,000 ft at Devil's Kitchen, Mt. Hood

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"WHO'S ON TOP DOCUMENTARY" (FILM 2020)

September 9, 2020

“Who’s on Top? LGBTQs Summit Mt. Hood” is the emotional story of members of the LGBTQ community. They challenge stereotypes about gender and sexuality and demonstrate their diverse journeys in overcoming physical and figurative mountains.

 

Being cast in the film is an honor. Each cast member brought their personal stories about overcoming adversity. My story focused around reconciling the transition from a conservative rural world to an urban gay community and the anxiety from this and other experiences (an oversimplified explanation).

 

I look forward to diving deeper into my story through my blog and other venues (contact me to join your project). I intend to start a dialogue of understanding anxiety and navigating through adversity.

Film Festivals

September 11-30, 2020 - Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival

October 15-17, 2020 - TIGLIF Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

October 21-25, 2020 - 2020 REEL AFFIRMATIONS: Washington DC's International LGBTQ Film Festival

"WHO'S ON TOP DOC?" Panel discussion

June 11, 2019

Panel Interview - City of Hillsboro, Oregon June 2019. The cast and director of "Who's on Top Doc." discussed the film and our stories. With a few early film clips of the film, the cast spoke about our experience with the film and touched on our personal stories. We shared our experiences and offered insight into the film.

PRIDE MONTH -  EMCEE OF HILLSBORO OREGON PRIDE PARTY "WHO'S ON TOP DOC?" PANEL INTERVIEW

June 1, 2019

Hillsboro Pride Party 2019 - The City of Hillsboro held its first Pride Party at Orenco Plaza. 

HILLSBORO ARTS MAGAZINE ARTICLE - VIEW FROM THE TOP: Documentary Challenges Stereotypes with Strength, Hope, and Resilience

June 1, 2019

Article interview with Hillsboro Arts Magazine with the director and I about the film project.

Tami Cochram and Ryan

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Tami Cochram and Ryan

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OTHER INTERESTS

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WOOD WORKING

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HEALTH & FITNESS

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OUTDOORS

Since 2014 I have been on a woodworking adventure remodelling my home, creating landscapes, and refinishing furnishings. Fall 2020 I will start producing a small line of adirondak chairs and starting designs for a teardrop trailer. Look here for more later!

2009 I made a once in a lifetime reset, which, besides focusing on developing mental health tools I also started on a lifetime health and fitness journey.


Updates on cool links and inspirational stories chack here soon!

Besides mountaineering, I am passionate about our natural environment and recreating. In fact, I work as a park and recreation professional; planning, designing, and building recreational amenities. I am an outdoors person and love the Pacific Northwest and all of its beauty.


Look here soon for links to projects and articles about the outdoors and our natural environment!

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