FINDING A PLACE WHERE ALL PARTS FIT
Hi there, The OUT Foundation community.
My name is Kate, and I’m an OUTAthlete (part of the 2022 cohort). I’m just getting my feet wet in this CrossFit world, and while I felt shy and uncertain about the whole thing in the first couple of weeks, I’m finding that I’m slowly finding my footing.
This blog is for all the queers out there that are cautious or skeptical steppin’ into this world. I think it’s important to talk about, given the complicated recent history of CrossFit as it relates to marginalized people. We as queer people need to know we belong in different spaces–gyms included–and I will spend my time discussing my feeling of belonging at my gym in Oakland.
My go-to preference for exercise is solitude. I love hitting the trails in the East Bay all by myself with only the trees as my company. So, I felt immediately nervous when this opportunity came my way. Not because I was worried about my own capacity for physical strength, but rather my worry about whether I would feel socially welcomed at a gym. I had preconceived notions about CrossFit as a community, and all I could picture was: straight.white.male.
Those preconceived notions were immediately dispelled when I first stepped foot in the gym. As I scanned the class that was wrapping up, I saw more women than men, the participants were of all ethnicities, and the instructors were as diverse as the participants. I took a breath of relief. Maybe…my queer self could deal.
I started to put aside some skepticism. I was finding during classes that this part of me that has been buried since the day I quit playing lacrosse (10 years ago) was re-emerging. I don’t know how to describe this in the right words, but I will try. It’s a part of me that loves to work hard. I love to get through something physically challenging with a team by my side. It’s a part of me that is maybe just a bit competitive but also wants those around me also to be the best. When I leave a CrossFit class, it feels like leaving lacrosse practice–with a felt sense that I achieved something hard.
My New Beginning
Well, this story is far from over. I am just at the beginning of this whole journey, and I will continue to document my process, thoughts, realizations, failures, and wins here.
So stay tuned.
If any other queers out there are curious about engaging this side of themselves that craves challenge and endurance, I encourage you to find a gym where you can see yourself. A gym where you feel like you belong–ALL parts of yourself belong.