Homophobia continues to be a problem in our society. Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ+) people is something that is all around us including gyms. Acceptance of these groups has been changing in the past decades, but we still have more to improve.
Gyms can be intimidating for LGBTQ+ clients, although there are no signs discriminating against them, community leaders say, for example, that a lesbian woman would feel that she can make other women uncomfortable in bathrooms or locker rooms.
Steps must be taken to include the LGBTQ+ community in gyms, as this community faces more disparities than the heterosexual one. Studies have revealed that the LGBTQ+ community is significantly less active; and with this comes associated diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression (thoughts of suicide) among others.
Wanting to be and stay healthy has no gender distinction, much less sexual orientation. And gyms should adapt more welcoming measures to this community.
An inclusive and respectful gym is one that:
Allows members to use restrooms and changing rooms that align with their gender identity. Honor the name and declared pronouns of each member. It has clear policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment against transgender and non-binary people.
A good support system is essential to achieving health goals and to staying healthy, the LGBTQ+ community is no exception. Let’s give everyone equality in gyms, parks, or any other place to exercise freely.
Katy Canseco, Virtual Fitness Coach