Why James Supports OUTWOD: A Straight Ally’s Story

Growing up my Aunt Millie had girlfriends that I was taught to call “Uncle”.

For some this may have been confusing, but for me and my siblings, it was just our family.

My parents, for all their flaws, were the cool people. They had friends from all walks of life –Puerto Rican, Italian, Irish, Black, etc. Those were the dominant races back then that made up our home of Williamsburg, Greenpoint Brooklyn.

It was there that I developed a love for diversity and learned that it was ok for boys to kiss boys and girls to dance with other girls. I grew up around the LGBT community, witnessing first-hand how cool it was but also how far they still had to go to be accepted for who they are.

When I was young my parents split up, and that was my mother came out and started dating a woman. This would be my first test at a young age, and it was pretty hard. I liked the woman. She was real nice to my sister and I. But I missed my family, and I was confused. I mean, my mom was with my dad and had me, so, if you were “born this way” as I was taught then how could she have “changed?” Did she just change her mind? A lot goes through the mind of a 10 year old faced with a life-changing event like this.

Lucky I had three gay aunts to turn to. I vaguely remember what they said, but I know they helped me begin to understand what my mom went through as she hid her feelings away for so many years.


“As a straight man who was honored to host and run an OUTWOD at my gym, I’m here to tell you this is where it starts. This is the foundation for true inclusivity.”

Years later my little brother who my mother fostered came out. We knew it before he did – when he was 4 he sang the hell out of Whitney Houston at a family party – the kid had some serious flair then, and still does now. Then my sister came out, which was great for me, because I really didn’t want to have to deal with her bringing boyfriends around.

So, as you can see, I’ve been surrounded by gays all my life. As a straight male, going to an OUTWOD is like going to one of my family parties. They’re full of a diverse group of humans who are there to celebrate love, people, and life. 

I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by love, but I also saw first-hand the intolerance and bullying the LGBT community is subjected to. I saw how AIDS would affect my family and my parents’ friends, and wish my parents had the community that we have in CrossFit that focuses on people’s health.

Fortunately, we now have that opportunity for ourselves and our kids. We have organizations like OUTWOD who bring people to together and celebrate not only their fitness, but celebrate each other.

As a straight man who was honored to host and run an OUTWOD at my gym, I’m here to tell you this is where it starts. This is the foundation for true inclusivity. 

James (center) with The OUT Foundation Founder Will (left) at CrossFit South Lamar in Austin, Texas.

It doesn’t matter who you love, how fit you are, how much money you make, the color of your skin, or how you identify. All that matters is you come with a great attitude. 

That’s the message I truly believe Coach Glassman is bringing back to our CrossFit community, and that’s the message I know OUTWOD continues to spread and that I’m here to support with all of my heart.

– James Quigley, Austin