Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?
Hi I’m @paraclimber_jeantique, a 26 year old paraclimber from London. I have a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome that affects all the connective tissue throughout my body, but have found climbing to be my greatest form of physio, as well as the best release for my mental wellbeing 😊 I am also a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community; in fact, I first came out in the climbing community because it is where I felt safest expressing my true self, and it is where I met my wonderful girlfriend who I am still with today – a climbing love story if you will!
Give us three words that you identify with most?
Climbing! Perseverance. Love.
What brings you the most joy outdoors?
Nothing beats the feeling of climbing on real rock outdoors – gripping on to the side of a cliff with the wind blowing in your hair and tens of metres beneath you, open views of lush landscape surrounding you, with the scent of fresh sea air, and the sound of silence, peace and freedom from hectic everyday city (London) life!
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Battling my ongoing health conditions has meant that I’m currently stuck in hospital and haven’t been able to climb since lockdown! As climbing is my everything, I miss it with every fibre in my being, so not being well enough to climb is having a massive impact on me both mentally and physically. Living with Ehlers Danlos will always be my biggest challenge, but I am determined to get back on the wall as soon as I am strong enough.
If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?
Acceptance and inclusivity: If someone identifies as a climber, then they absolutely are a climber and no one can tell them otherwise. NO ONE is too weak, fat, thin, disabled, short, tall, gay, of an ethnic/racial/religious/gender/sexual etc minority or anything else to be marginalised from the climbing community.
Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?
In line with the above, if you notice that someone has any limitations that might make climbing more difficult for them, such as access needs, disabilities, financial difficulties, discrimination based on race, gender, sexual identity or anything else, ask yourself what steps you can make to address these limitations so that climbing that can be made more accessible, inclusive and fun to them 😊