Have you ever felt judged at the gym because of your body, clothes, hair, the way you express your gender, or the types of fitness activities you like to do? Have you ever felt unsafe using a bathroom or locker room, or like you weren’t welcome on a sports team? You’re not alone! So much of our world is gendered, including where we workout. With bathroom bills and rising stigma against LGBTQ people – especially transgender and gender nonconforming people – it can be hard for us to find places to exercise where we feel seen and supported.
On top of that, we have higher rates of tobacco and alcohol-use, experience harassment and discrimination, and other mental and physical health challenges that prevent us from living our longest, most fabulous lives. It can feel like we live in a society that doesn’t support the health and wellness of our community.
Sound a little grim? Well, there’s good news! We live in a city with tons of great resources for LGBTQ people to be physically active in supportive and safe environments. And let’s be real – there’s a long history of queer people finding their moves through sports, dance, vogue, and all types of fitness. This LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, we’d like to shout-out just a few of our favorite local spots for LGBTQ people to be active:
City of Brotherly Love Softball League, a member of the Out Philadelphia Athletic League
From the website: “City of Brotherly Love Softball League is the largest LGBTQ sports organization in the City of Philadelphia. It has been around for over 30 years and promotes LGBTQ inclusion on and off the softball fields. CBLSL is not just about coming together and playing softball, but about coming together as a community and meeting new people. The league is all about sportsmanship, comradery and fun. While the league identifies as an LGBTQ sports organization, we also welcome any of our straight allies as well. The league is comprised of those identifying within the community as well as its supporters. We welcome anyone who supports the LGBTQ community to join the league!”
Lez Run, a Philly Running Club
From the website: “Lez Run was created by lesbian runners for lesbian runners. Our group welcomes all skill levels from beginner to pro! We aim to run local, out of state and out of the country races to represent our community and show off our skills! We will train together for upcoming races and help each other reach personal goals. Our focus is to provide lesbian athletes (newbies and vets) a safe, supportive, and healthy outlet via running.”
Lez Run was also featured on the Philly Mayor’s Cup, where you can find more great running clubs!
Hot off the press! Lez Run, William Way LGBT Community Center, Out Philadelphia Athletic League, and Pride are all teaming up for a 1.5-mile Pride Run to kick-off the parade this year. See the PGN Press Release for more details.
Queer & Trans Yoga, at Studio 34 in West Philly
From the website: “This Queer & Trans yoga class is an all-levels vinyasa (flow) class that will work with participants to make a space that affirms all of our identities in order allow you to focus on the practice and eventually be open to the deeper places yoga can take you. There will be a continued focus on breath, grounding, healing, and growth. Queer & Trans folks of all identities, expressions, bodies, sizes and abilities welcome. So, join Qui and Shay for a practice filled with sweat, heart, laughter and community!”
Something else we love about Studio 34? In order to make yoga accessible for everyone, they offer a Work Exchange Program where you can trade a couple of volunteer hours at the front desk for free classes!
From the website: “Stonewall Sports is an LGBTQ & Ally community-based, non-profit sports organization founded in 2010 that strives to raise funds for local non-profit organizations. We believe every person should have the ability to feel comfortable being oneself in organized sports. Our league will value each player for who they are and what one brings to the league’s community. Our mission is to provide an inclusive, low-cost, high FUN sport leagues that are managed as a non-profit with a philanthropic heart.”
Stonewall Sports offers Kickball, Billiards, Dodgeball, Sand Volleyball, and Indoor Volleyball. Check out their website for registration info and pricing!
What’s your favorite way to move? How do YOU queer fitness? Tell us your favorite LGBTQ+ positive exercise spots by using the hashtag #mymovesmyway when you post about your favorite ways to stay active or email email@example.com if you have a story about queering fitness that you’d like to share!
Elissa Martel is the Special Projects Coordinator at Get Healthy Philly. Last summer, she discovered that Aqua Zumba is her favorite way to exercise. Pop music, zumba, and an outdoor pool – what more could you ask for? Free Aqua Zumba will be back this summer, so stay tuned!