8 Reasons Why Gyms are Hostile to Queers

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8 Reasons Why The Gym Is So Uncomfortable
by Lynn De La Cruz

Are you uncomfortable in gym spaces? We feel your pain.

Most mainstream gyms are not welcoming to queer bodies. While you may hear (heteronormative) people think of the gym as their second home, you find yourself anxious just stepping into the place. Or maybe you’ve found yourself able to get into the gym, but you find yourself unable to walk over to that rack of weights.

We know that it’s already tough enough to just start a workout routine let alone have to deal with gym aficionados that seem to have marked their territory all over the gym. We feel you. But we can also help you get past this. Let’s start a conversation on why the gym is such an obstacle for queer people.

So why is it so damn problematic trying to go to the gym?

1. You feel anxious using the locker room and showers.
It’s hard enough trying to get to the gym, and now you have to deal with your body in a place where you’re even more vulnerable around people that most likely do not get you.

2. The mass population of the gym doesn’t represent your queer body.
Most gyms cater to the macho man,and the feminine toned woman. And you find yourself somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, or completely away from it. Anything that is beyond these two stereotypes feels a bit awkward. You don’t feel a sense community within the gym when you’re alone.

3. Personal trainers at the gym don’t get your personal goals/aesthetic.
You’ve gotten the courage to get educated from someone who knows how to train people. However, most are not trained to deal with the goals of us queer folx.

4. The weight rack area is intimidating—both the weights, and the people within them.
It’s problematic when you have to take mental notes of when the sweaty bros finally seem to disperse from the weights—giving you a small amount of time to get your reps in. Even when you get that space, are you sure of what you’re doing?

5. Sweaty bros yelling fitspo quotes at each other.
You try to get legit tips from someone else at the gym,and they just seem to ramble some garbage about “excuses” and “who cares if you’re in pain.”

6. You feel pressured to try things that your body may not be ready for.
Sometimes the gym environment makes you feel like you need to prove yourself—that you belong there because you can do it. But maybe you haven’t been trained to do a proper squat, and those 20 extra pounds end up hurting you more than you thought.

7. The threat of harassment and inappropriate questions about your identity.
We get this problem outside of the gym, so of course it’s found within the gym. You just don’t feel safe because there isn’t a community within the gym that understands you.

8. It just isn’t a safe space.
All these reasons listed wear on you-physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s just not a space that is readily accessible to you.

But let’s hope that our conversation can change this. Talk to us about your experiences this Saturday September 6th, where we will chat about these big problems. Let’s work together to make the gym a place where we can thrive, too.

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