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.
“Being an OUTAthlete for 2023 has absolutely been the best experience of the year. While I’ve always known my gym as kind & respectful towards all people, there is always the question of “will they still accept me after knowing this information about me?”. As someone that is in a heterosexual presenting relationship, the fears of experiencing biphobia from both my gym and the queer community are real. I am so thankful that my gym has truly embraced me, my identities, and wants to make the space more inclusive. Those conversations wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t applied to be an OUTAthlete.
The OUT Foundation and OUTAthlete program focuses on community- but also on helping you, as an individual, thrive. The community is there to cheer on your successes in and out of the gym, as well as provide support when life happens and things get really hard. I recently graduated from my masters program, and I know I would have derailed from my wellness and self care practices if I didn’t have the constant support and encouragement from the community.
The OUTAthlete program is so special and provides so many opportunities for queer folks. Coming out can be scary, but now more than ever, we need queer visibility of all types in all spaces, especially gym spaces. I am beyond grateful for this program and can’t wait to continue to thrive in this community.”
“Spike, a proud Brooklynite, originally hailed from the Poconos of Pennsylvania. It was there
where he spent most of his time surrounded by oak trees and whistling creeks as he wrote stories and poems. Writing has always been a form of self expression for him.
When he didn’t have words, he had composure and discipline. Both traits that he learned from his parents who practiced martial arts. It wasn’t long after he could walk where he would be following in his parents footsteps. With his father as a black belt, and mother with her purple in taekwondo, Spike knew he had big shoes to fill to continue the bada** legacy of his family.
Unfortunately and due to financial struggles, Spike’s martial arts journey was cut short and shelved for many years; Only for him to be left to vicariously live through Jet Lee and Jackie Chan films. That was until he discovered The OUT Foundation. Thanks to this nonprofit, he has been able to practice Muay Thai in Bushwick Brooklyn amongst the LGBTQ+ community.
Spike hopes to encourage strength and self confidence through Martial Arts within the LGBTQ+ community by showing examples of discipline, peace, and dedication to accomplish one’s desires no matter how off track the road seems to bring you.”
“I’m just finishing up my third year in a PhD program and, like in many STEM academic settings where the culture is focused on how overworked you are, mental health and self-care aren’t necessarily pushed as priorities. In my first year, I was really struggling, not only because of the high academic pressure I was under, but also because I was finally starting to understand my sexuality and come out to my friends.
Thankfully, I found a couple of outlets in CrossFit and rugby where I could not only take my mind off of my school work and de-stress, but also start to find a community. While these were really helping me, there was still a lot of guilt that I had to overcome that was brought on by spending time doing anything other than academic work. It also felt like some people didn’t understand just how important these sports were to me and how much effort I was putting into them. Becoming an OUTAthlete has acted as tangible proof of the effort I have continued to put in. Since joining the OUTAthlete program, I have been supported through so many of my goals surrounding CrossFit, not only by the people running the program and the resources they provide, but also through my fellow OUTAthletes. I have been able to improve upon my nutrition and performance in the gym at the same time as this community of queer athletes who are all going through the same thing, which has been amazing. In this community, I am able to celebrate my wins and also those of my peers as we keep progressing.”
“Being a part of The OUT Foundation’s OUTAthlete program has been a life-changing experience.
In the past, I often struggled to express my sexuality openly in all areas of my life. Growing up in a religious environment, I spent years hiding and suppressing who I was. The fear of rejection and disappointing my loved ones kept me hidden. Even after coming out, I still found myself questioning where I belonged.
Since becoming an OUTAthlete, I have embarked on a new journey of self-acceptance. This community is filled with individuals who understand what it takes to be true to ourselves even in the face of being judged or misunderstood. Being surrounded by people who have walked a similar path has allowed me to feel empowered while I practice openly embracing my identity wherever I go.
This program has also taught me the importance of showing up for myself. Every week, I head to the gym and lift heavy weights! Regardless of how I’m feeling or what challenges I may be facing, every workout leaves me feeling strong. The physical strength I gain translates into mental and emotional resilience, allowing me to be powerful in all aspects of my life.
Ultimately, the OUTAthlete program has been a profound catalyst for my personal growth and self-discovery. It has allowed me to break free from the constraints of fear and embrace my identity with confidence. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program and for all of the unwavering support, accountability, and love I have received.”