We are proud of the diversity of backgrounds our oUTAthletes come with, and we work diligently to provide them with the resources they need to succeed in fitness, health, and wellness.
get to know their stories here.
“For me, it started on a whim. That might sound underwhelming to some, but a whim, for me, is the arrow pointing me to a life-changing opportunity. To start, CrossFit should have been the furthest thing from my radar. The closest that I ever got to calling myself an athlete was in the marching band! How I ended up an OUTAthlete is really anyone’s guess. But don’t get me wrong, I’m taking it in stride. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my funny relationship with whims, it’s that you don’t need to check a box to own a good opportunity.
The first day at my gym was surreal. Any prior experiences I have with gyms started and ended in high school. To my relief, I was welcomed with open arms. I could count on my coaches – Jenn, Dennis, Mark, Kelly, and Mike – to lead me through every step. I felt right at home. It was after I got accustomed to my new workout schedule and my commute that the challenge really began. See, the thing about whims and opportunities is that they can only get you through the door. Bask in it for a while, but then it’s time to do the heavy lifting.
My anxiety began to roll in, hot. “Am I really supposed to be here? Am I really giving them my best performance possible? Will I be able to keep up today?” When taking a chance on something I’ve never tried before, anxiety will find a thousand ways to call me out as an imposter. The incredible thing about starting CrossFit was learning how to work with that voice. As much as my fear and my ego try to protect me, I had to realize that I could communicate with myself in better ways: “This challenge is scary. That isn’t a sign to give up. You are capable of getting through it”.
The OUT Foundation, my fellow OUTAthletes, and my CrossFit community helped me find courage and self-determination that I never knew I had in me. Even without the athletic insecurities, society makes it hard enough to navigate as a queer, person of color. It is a very trying time for our community as a whole. It makes programs like OUTAthletics all the more significant. Together, we can assert our every right to be a part of athletic spaces. There is no need to check a box. We are not imposters. We belong, and therefore, the opportunity is already ours.”
“I am a transgender author, educator, and activist who grew up in rural Maryland and later received both my BS and M.Ed. from The University of Vermont. I am currently pursuing PhD education studies at UC San Diego, where my work focuses on equity policy, investigating and supporting gender identity development in early childhood, and helping educators to create queer and trans affirming curriculum and classrooms. I am a sought after public speaker, guest lecturer, and consultant on issues of gender diversity. I serve as a national facilitator with Welcoming Schools, a Board Member for Trans Youth Liberation, and a youth mentor at San Diego Pride. I have collaborated with The National Center for Transgender Equality, Planned Parenthood, Gender Odyssey, Bernie Sanders’ office, and other organizations, and have been published in diverse outlets including multiple books, several academic journals, HuffPost, NPR, and more.
Outside of my academic and activist work, I have the privilege of being an OUTAthlete with The OUT Foundation! I have been an elite athlete my entire life, training with the soccer Olympic Development Program and winning multiple state championship rings as a softball player. Although I always felt like I had to keep my queerness a secret, sports were my entire life. Later, when I began my transition, I was no longer welcome to play. No matter what I did, even trying to play intramural sports, I wasn’t considered “girl enough” or “man enough” to play. Eventually, I gave up trying to participate at all and felt like I completely lost my sense of self. I forced myself to accept that exercise and athletics would be a solo endeavor as a transgender man. I started to weight train and snowboard, but it never felt the same as being part of a team and competing.
I eventually moved to San Diego to pursue my PhD and we ended up living in an awesome queer neighborhood. We would occasionally walk by a gym that had multiple Pride flags out front, something I had never seen before. It turned out to be a CrossFit gym. I had never done CrossFit before, and had been out of a gym for over two years because of COVID, but before I lost my nerve I decided to walk in one day. I was hooked and soon applied to be an OUTAthlete, and the rest is history! The OUT Foundation has given me an incredible sense of queer athletic community, more confidence in myself as a trans athlete, and accountability to continue challenging myself. In less than a year I have gone from knowing nothing about the sport of CrossFit to crushing all of my PRs, competing in two competitions, and even being a model athlete for RXSG’s Pride campaign! I love the sense of community we have at CrossFit Humanity, and am excited to host a Pride fundraising OUT WOD this year at our gym to benefit The OUT Foundation. The OUTAthlete program has allowed me to continue pursuing my athletic goals despite financial strain by providing a scholarship program to cover the cost of my gym membership.
Every single day I am proud to be an OUTAthlete, showing the world that queer and trans athletes not only belong in athletics, but can dominate if given the chance. I am so grateful to this program for taking a chance on me and cheering along my growth! I am striving to be 1% better each and every day.”
“Hi! I’m Alec, a 23 year old data/software analyst who lives down in New Orleans. I joined the OUTAthlete program with the April 2023 cohort, so I am a fairly new OUTAthlete. However, even in my short time with the program, I have found a diverse group of friends and a support group as I expand my fitness experience and continue on my personal health journey.
I come from a background of recreational (but still intense) rugby… GO ROUGAROUX!… and some bodybuilding-style lifting with muscle isolation. I also used to be a competitive swimmer in high school. One area of fitness that I rarely had the courage to try was CrossFit-style exercise utilizing HIIT mixed with lots of compound lifts. That’s where The OUT Foundation comes in!
The OUT Foundation has helped me find a supportive group of athletes that I can befriend and grow alongside as we all gain knowledge and experience through CrossFit gym partnerships. The OUT Foundation has chosen to invest in me by helping me find a sponsoring gym that is accepting and supportive of me, and there are even more good things to come with the nutritional coaching and senior OUTAthlete mentorship. I can’t wait to see what all the OUTAthlete program has in store for me! I am ready to take my health and wellness to a new level in the presence of the other 2023 OUTAthletes and the entire foundation.”
“I am a 28-year-old cisgender gay man living in Boston, MA and am currently completing a MD/PhD program. My graduate school program is 8 years long and intense. I’ve found that to stay on track and sane throughout this process, I need to prioritize personal balance and self-care to avoid burnout. Last year, I found myself struggling to achieve this balance on my own and applied to the OUTAthlete program. Luckily, I was accepted and have since found a source of supportive community as well as motivation to achieve a better life balance.
In college, I had previously found balance with competitive rowing. I loved the energy of the team and the accountability to attend practice every day that pushed me to become a strong athlete. Now in graduate school, the OUTAthlete program fills a similar role encouraging me to regularly prioritize my physical health through CrossFit classes and motivating me to set and achieve my own physical goals alongside my academic ones. Both the OUTAthlete and my local CrossFit communities are energizing and make me excited to complete my workouts.
Since the beginning of the year, I have become significantly more confident with my lifting techniques and am slowly learning other gymnastic movements such as kipping pull ups and handstand pushups, both of which initially intimidated me. Furthermore, the educational seminars during our monthly meetings are leading me to think deeply about other aspects of my well-being, such as mindfulness and nutrition. Establishing a routine that prioritizes balance and personal wellness will be crucial for me to finish these degrees, as well as to continue through my future training and career. The OUTAthlete program has been wonderful to participate in so far and I am looking forward to what the rest of the year has in Store!”