Climbing Every Mountain: a Docu Series by Transilient


We believe that storytelling is a powerful and radical form of healing and can plant the seeds of restorative justice. Because of this, we have decided to create a documentary series that chronicles the experiences of trans people who face mental health issues on a daily basis in Appalachia. Seeing and hearing from those directly impacted by these issues provides audiences with a personalized connection to these stories and people. It is for this reason that we aim to complete this project through film above all other mediums.

The Route

Charleston, WV ➔ Roanoke, VA ➔ Asheville, NC ➔ Knoxville, TN ➔ ATLANTA, GA


The Statistics

It is a known fact that transgender and gender non-conforming people face discrimination, especially in rural parts of the United States like Appalachia. Through our proposed documentary series, we hope to share the mental health stories of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in communities throughout Appalachia, breaking down the stigma around mental illness, trans identities, and advocating for more inclusive and affirming services in a part of the United States that is largely overlooked and under-served.

  • While nearly 6.7% of the United States population experience a form of depression and 18% experience some form of a diagnosed anxiety disorder, almost half of all trans and gender non-conforming people experience these issues (Psychology Today, 2016). In fact, the American Psychological Association wrote in March 2016 that “for many adults, dealing with discrimination results in a state of heightened vigilance and changes in behavior, which in itself can trigger stress responses – that is, even the anticipation of discrimination is sufficient to cause people to become stressed.”

  • LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, post traumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse. (stats from

  • According to the 2010-2014 Poverty Rate report, poverty rates across the US were 15.6% compared to 19.7% in the combined Appalachian regions of Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. In addition to experiencing poverty at higher rates than the general population, people who are transgender or gender non-conforming have difficulties accessing the income supports and other safety nets that would help them overcome poverty. Nearly 1 in 5 trans folks have reported that they had received negative treatment, including being denied equal treatment or service, verbally harassed, or physically attacked, when they went to a public assistance or government benefits office.

  • Over 41% of trans men and women are estimated to have attempted suicide — a rate that's nearly nine times as high as the rate of cisgender Americans.



PFLAG is Transilient’s community partner for Climbing Every Mountain. We couldn’t be more grateful for their help with funding and for what they do for the LGBTQ community.

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In the time-frame of 60 days the team at Transilient ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the production of Climbing Every Mountain. Many organizations, artists, musicians, etc. donated items to help reach our goal. Stealth Bros Co, Transfigure Print Co, I Am We Creations, Chain Nicholas, Sharon Von Etten, Lockwood 51. We had 229 folks from all across the world contribute to this project! People want to see the conversation around mental health change. We even ended up going a little bit beyond our goal, which is amazing. During our Kickstarter campaign, we were also awarded the “Project We Love” badge. Which means there was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about the docuseries itself on Kickstarter.

Graphic Last Updated On: Aug 27th, 2019

Graphic Last Updated On: Aug 27th, 2019

if you replied to our kickstarter survey your order has been sent out; if you havent your order is on hold until we can get more info. if you’re waiting for your package or shirt please reply to the survey to avoid further delay.

UPDATED: Sep 6th, 2019

Thank you for your continued support


Questions, Comments, concerns?

James Heatherly
Director of Film @ Transilient

*Page will be updated throughout the Pre-Production process; Check back for more info as released*

Press on Climbing Every Mountain