Making Healthy Habits Accessible For Every Body

These safe spaces offer fitness for people of color and queer folks, the big-bodied and fat-identified, the low-income and differently abled.


Published:

Members work out at the Radically Fit opening party on July 7, 2018.

© Valerie Sepeda

Zee Malinalxochitl spent over three years looking for a gym in Oakland, California, where she could feel like she belonged. Working out made her feel empowered, but in many spaces, her identity as a queer Xicana fat femme was questioned.

She had fitness instructors warn her that classes might be difficult. One trainer, she said, was surprised that she could do a burpee.

“I was looking for a place where I could really feel comfortable being a fat person lifting and not having someone assume that I can’t do jumping jacks or that I can’t touch my toes or that I can't handle lifting 20 pounds,” Malinalxochitl said.

Then a queer-centered gym opened nearby. Named Radically Fit, it offers an inclusive and body-positive space for people who are often marginalized in conventional fitness settings: people of color and folks who are queer or trans, big-bodied and fat-identified, low-income, and differently abled.

Radically Fit’s founder, Lindsey Page, said she has dealt with her own fair share of discrimination from the fitness industry, especially related to body image.

“I wanted to be radical, and I wanted it to be clear that our mission was fitness and the inclusiveness of fitness,” said Page, who has been a personal trainer for over five years.

In her experience working in the fitness industry, she felt like there was no space for the people she hopes to serve at Radically Fit. “People will do what they have to do to work out, and I commend so many folks who just kind of go to gyms and make the best of it,” she said. “But imagine how much more amazing your experience would be if you walked into a space and immediately felt like the space was for you.”

After working as a trainer and fitness director at Bayan Roots, a queer-oriented massage and wellness center, Page bought the fitness program from the company in May. She established the business and rebranded as Radically Fit, operating out of Oakland Strength Factory until she was able to secure another gym space, which opened in July.

It joined a small group of gyms dedicated to people on the margins. For example, there’s Everybody in Los Angeles, whose website says it believes “health and wellness should be accessible, affordable, and adaptive to all people regardless of their gender, race, age, size, or ability.”

And there’s Liberation Barbell in Portland, Oregon. So many queer or trans people are reluctant to work out because “they’re worried they’re going to be harassed, or it’s actually literally not safe,” cofounder Lacy Davis told Portland Monthly in August.

In choosing classes to put on the schedule, Page has been thinking about the intersections of identity and subsets of people within the queer community. Radically Fit recently started offering a mind-body alignment class for gender nonbinary and transgender people.

“The [class] has really been the happiest I have ever felt at a gym because it is tailored to the needs of its members and is specific for trans [and nonbinary people] even within an already niche community,” Carla M. Peña, a Latinx, nonbinary member of Radically Fit, said by email. “It’s been super self-affirming for me.”

The gym, where an unlimited membership plan costs $149 per month, currently offers classes and personal training but no open-gym amenities like weight rooms or sport courts. It also plans to start offering a class in September called Black and Brown Queerz exclusively for people of color.

Radically Fit also offers a sliding-scale program called Community Cares, which allows people to pay what they can, starting with as little as zero dollars. The expenses are covered by a $50 earmark in the gym’s $200 premium membership plan.

“Fitness is expensive, and then you put on top of that that the community we’re serving is oftentimes made up of people who are struggling to get by,” Page said.

For example, a 2016 report showed that transgender Americans were nearly four times as likely to have an annual household income under $10,000 compared to the population as a whole—15 percent to 4 percent. And adding race to the equation, trans people fared even worse, with 34 percent of Black respondents and 28 percent of Latinx respondents reporting extremely low incomes.

The Community Cares program is what allows Peña to be a member. Her partner is in graduate school, so Peña is the only one who works full time. Without a sliding-scale membership, she would have few other options for gyms.

“I thought my only option might end up being Planet Fitness. And that is fine, but when you’re queer/trans/GNC [gender nonconforming], many of us deal with a lot of judgment, stress, and, frankly, issues surrounding safety, for just existing in spaces that are overwhelmingly dominated by cisgender, heterosexual, white bodies,” Peña said in an email.

But at Radically Fit, she doesn’t have to worry about defending her identity every time she has to use the restroom, locker room, or anywhere else.

There, Peña said, “I am free to just be.”

This article was funded in part by a grant from the Surdna Foundation.

Deonna Anderson wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Deonna is the Surdna Reporting Fellow for YES! Follow her on Twitter @iamDEONNA.

This article was republished from YES! Magazine.

See also:
For The Parents Of Gender-Nonconforming Kids, A New Approach To Care
Why Gender Matters — It’s About Every Student plus LGBQT Glossary

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

November 20, 2019

After retrograding since Halloween, mental Mercury turns Direct this afternoon. The Winged Messenger’s changes of direction can befuddle some minds. New ideas and points of view may defy convention. With Mercury ensconced in Scorpio, previously secret…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

November 2019

“Bringing Energy into Matter” Learn basics of Tachyon, Zero Point Energy and Quantum Physics Tachyonized products and healing tools for purchase Participate in a seeing...

Cost: Free (preregistration is required)

Where:
The Sanctuary for Celestial Empowerment
10 Grassmere Avenue
Suite #300
West Hartford, CT  06110
View map »


Sponsor: Psychotherapy Healing Services, LLC
Telephone: 860-798-6176
Contact Name: Celeste E. Mattingly, LCSW
Website »

More information

Beaver Moon: Herbs for Aches and Pains Using Anti-Inflammatory Herbs. Refreshments served. To RSVP contact herbalist Rachel Ross, RN CNM. Visit our Facebook page for the latest...

Where:
Hillside Herbals
Jefferson, MA


Telephone: (508) 847-8615
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Atend a public hearing for S665 at the Massachusetts State House to protect holistic practitioners. This is the second bill that urgently needs your attention now. S665 will provide a safe...

Where:
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon St
Rooms A1 and A2
Boston, MA  02133
View map »

More information

With Peyton Pugmire, spiritual intuitive and Certified Angel Card Reader Tuesdays, 9/24, 10/22, 11/19, 12/17, 6pm–8pm You are intuitive beyond belief. This is your soul’s...

Cost: $40

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
Website »

More information

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Free Evidence-Based Holistic Health Education Program at Wilbraham Senior Center The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation), created and instructed by Michelle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

The Fertility Awareness Meetup provides women with an opportunity to learn about and discuss natural birth control options and fertility. This is a space to connect with peers, access information,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cambridge Women's Center
46 Pleasant St
Cambridge, MA  02139
View map »


Sponsor: AC Fertility Awareness
Telephone: 617-899-7624
Contact Name: Anna Churchill

More information

The online dating scene can be exciting, overwhelming, and also annoying. However, it can truly be worth the hassle if you end up finding your ideal match! Just like Kerri did! Come to this...

Cost: $25

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Broga® is an officially licensed brand of fitness infused yoga geared for men but open to all. With instructors around the world, Chuck was trained by the brands creator and went onto work as...

Cost: $20

Where:
SSFIT STudio
339 Boston Post Rd, Suite 6A
Sudury, MA  01776
View map »


Sponsor: SSFIT STUDIO
Telephone: 508-904-7171
Contact Name: Steven
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the fall in our sanctuary! We have an intimate gathering of great readers and healers providing services at sampler rates to enjoy their services while...

Cost: $60: 3 Pack Service Special; $25: Single Service

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani (My journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing) In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four...

Cost: Free

Where:
Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
411 West Main Street, Suite 2R (rear of building)
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »


Sponsor: Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
Telephone: 508-393-1212
Contact Name: Kim Flaherty
Website »

More information

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Four week series for girls ages 11 and up with Leigh Sloss This series of classes will focus on some of the most effective yoga and mindfulness skills for reducing stress and anxiety.  In a...

Cost: Series: $75; Drop in rate $20

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags