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The Importance of Queer Fitness Spaces

Is your fitness space keeping you safe and celebrating you? According to a study done by Calzo, et. al., 2014, queer minorities exercise 1.21-2.62 less hours than their straight counterparts per week, and 46%-76% of gender non-conforming individuals were less likely to participate in team sports. In my experience as a queer youth, I have never felt safe or comfortable participating in physical activity, especially in front of others. I don’t even feel safe going to Planet Fitness with my family. Commercial gyms do not make an effort to include the queer community in their atmosphere. They are incapable of pushing past outdated social norms and do little to change their damaging policies. 

Commercial gyms do not provide direct marketing to the LGBTQ+ community. If you use Planet Fitness as an example, they do not take an outright stance to be inclusive to the queer community. Instead, they have extremely generalized ads claiming to be “all-inclusive” and a “judgement-free zone” that can only be seen in lettering on the inside of the gym. This lack of represenation alienates the queer community, which causes an inaccessibility of the space. People will not go to an establishment where they do not feel welcomed or represented. This is one of the barriers that prevents the queer community from engaging in fitness. 

In my experience, many of the employees I have met are unable to make their spaces more inclusive. None of them asked me for my pronouns and were dismissive when I tried to politely correct them. Because of that, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for any gender affirming programs they may have offered. In my research, I did not find a single gym that specifically protected the LGBTQ+ population in their policies. By not having these policies in place, people are at risk of being targeted.  Often times, queer people will not enter a place that does not have any representation of them. 

 So you’re probably wondering “well, what’s the next step?” or “what can we do to change that?” This is the inspiration behind why Amplio Fitness was created.  Owners, Belle and John, wanted to create an institution that specifically addressed the disparities the queer community faced in the fitness industry. At Amplio Fitness, we strive to make a space where you feel safe, welcome, and celebrated. Some of the current services offered are personal training, nutrition coaching, reiki, and yoga. Our goal is to assist you throughout your journey, wherever you may be, and offer a support system specifically tailored to your needs.

 As someone who has been with Amplio for about a year, I have achieved more than I had ever thought was possible and consider it to be like a second home to me. I had never felt confident enough to pursue physical goals for myself. Through Amplio Fitness, I was able to start doing things like lifting weights and working towards the body I had always dreamed of having. With every step, I received positive reinforcement and began to feel more hopeful of my future. 

I believe Amplio Fitness is the solution to the issues the fitness industry faces. They promote inclusivity at every corner: legal/preferred name on intake form, pronouns on forms and at introduction, gender affirming programming, specific queer protection policies, specific queer programming, visibly queer staff, partners with queer organizations, and more! 

Join us as we carve out a new space for the queer community in the fitness industry! 

References:
Calzo, J. P., Roberts, A. L., Corliss, H. L., Blood, E. A., Kroshus, E., & Austin, S. B. (2014). Physical activity disparities in heterosexual and sexual minority youth ages 12-22 years old: roles of childhood gender nonconformity and athletic self-esteem. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 47(1), 17–27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-013-9570-y

By Marshall Moreno