I try to go to the gym five times a week. I’m not one of those girls that likes to take pictures of herself in the mirrors or a body builder who likes to admire my muscles.
But mirrors at a gym are useful for more than just admiring your hard work. They can also help you avoid serious injury.
I do my body weight squats in the corner of the gym. That way I have a mirror in front of me and to my side to make sure my form is as close to perfect as I can get it. This helps me, and many others, avoid exercising incorrectly.
But at a California gym dubbed “America’s first queer gym”, they see mirrors as triggers.
Only at a liberal gym would you find this…
The gym, called The Perfect Sidekick, not only has a strict no-mirrors policy, but the ultimate safe space also hosts events like “Taco Tuesday” — known for its effectiveness in weight loss among the fitness community — and makes certain each trainer knows a user’s “preferred pronouns” before directing any workouts, which I’m sure come with trigger warnings.
“Our mission is to make happy, healthy homos, and yes, straight people can come too,” says founder Nathalie Huerta in a promo video for the gym. “We provide a safe space to work out with a community that gives a damn about you. Since 2010, we’ve been providing fitness coaching to over 150 queers and allies. So, if you’re looking to get swole with a bunch of homos and homies, you’ve found the right gym.”
If you wanted to go see this gym, just know the locker-rooms are, of course, non-gender specific. Because gender is a triggering, social construct made up by straight, white men.
Male, female, two-spirit, agender, transgender, third gender, non-binary, insert-whatever-you-want-here gender, are all welcome to strip down.
Am I doing the Liberal right?
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The LGBTQ gym has worked hard to make sure it’s members feel included as opposed to regular gyms. Those places apparently have rigid “one size fits all” approaches to their members.
For people who may already feel excluded or marginalized on a day-to-day basis, the heightened aesthetic and physical pressure of massive gyms may end up exacerbating those feelings. That’s part of why The Perfect Sidekick has no mirrors—by de-emphasizing the aesthetics of fitness, the gym cuts down on that physical pressure.
Trainers at the gym also have to take “sensitivity training,” “covering topics like preferred pronouns, asking for permission to touch another’s body, and tweaking gendered terminology to be more tolerant.”
An example of this is, instead of having trainers say “man-maker,” they would use the term “homie-maker.”
What world do these people exist in?
“Gyms like The Perfect Sidekick are hoping to bridge that gap in awareness and inclusivity,” according to Vice. “It’s a heavier issue than you may think—one that demands you pick it up, bear its weight and learn to embrace the slow burn of inclusivity.”