Why I Support OUTWOD: A Straight Ally's Story
The first time I was ever in the minority as a straight person, was during a 6am CrossFit class. Nobody even said anything about it either; there was no momentous celebration, or selfie to commemorate the occasion. Instead the class was completely normal, with everyone offering words of encouragement as we all tried our hardest to complete the workout. In hindsight I couldn’t tell you anything about the workout, the only thing I remember is the happiness I felt at being part of a community that made people of all identities feel welcome and supported.
Most mornings I begin my day by completing a CrossFit workout alongside Dan and his boyfriend Mike. Without trying to, they’ve taught me an incredible amount about feeling comfortable with who you are as a person. Thoughts never cross my mind about them being different in any sort of way. Instead I’m left gasping for air running after Dan trying to figure how in the world he’s so fast, or cursing Mike for keeping a pace on the rower that I can barely maintain for a few pulls. At the end of the day we’re all there for the same reasons: to get healthier, stronger and look better naked (for who is the only area where we differ).
“Now I consider two gay guys to be my favorite workout buddies and even better friends.”
My friendships with Mike, Dan and the other members of our gym who identify as LGBTQ played a large part in why I was so upset about the disgusting comments Russel Berger, who at the time was a member of the CrossFit staff, made towards the gay community.
The second time I was ever in the minority as a straight person, was at an OUTWOD event this summer in Boston. Dan and Mike told me they were going, and I was happy to go support them and OUTWOD while getting a workout in with a big group of gays and other allies like myself. I also snagged a pretty cool OUTWOD tshirt that I’m proud to wear in and out of the gym.
What I’ve found in CrossFit is an accepting and encouraging community no matter whether you’re black or white, gay or straight, have a chiseled six-pack or are doing your best to shed some pounds. I would hope that anybody walking into a CrossFit gym across America and around the world feels the same way.
I do also understand that there are people like Russel Berger out there who don’t share the same values. I grew up in the locker room culture, I used offensive language to insult opponents on the fields and rinks of my youth and had those same horrible sayings spat back in my face. Now I consider two gay guys to be my favorite workout buddies and even better friends. What I’ve learned from them, and what I’ve felt from being part of a diverse and supportive community is what drives me to support OUTWOD. It’s my hope that others will learn how incredible our LGBTQ community is, and like myself will become powerful allies in helping drive out hate and bigotry and replace them with support and encouragement as well as thrusters and burpees.
- Sam Langrock, Boston