As fitness professionals, we’re in the business of helping people. We often play critical roles in helping individuals change their lives. Just like any other client, the focus should be on the individual’s unique goals, but there are a few things you can do to make your facility more inclusive and ALL your clients feel more comfortable. Here are some suggestions for fitness professionals working with members of the LGBTQ+ community (specifically the trans community).
Making Your Facility More Inclusive
Welcome everyone by demonstrating that representation in hiring matters to your business, investing in continued diversity and inclusion education, and more
All cultures, by hiring bi-or multilingual staff members, offering materials in languages other than English, updating the music you play in your studio or gym to be more culturally inclusive, and more
Training with an individual who is within the LGBTQ+ community is not a whole lot different than training with someone outside it. We are all humans who generally share a common goal of wanting to live to be the healthiest version of ourselves.
Preferred Names and Pronouns
Respect starts with a person’s name and pronouns. When training with trans individuals, consider that they may have a different name than what shows up on their email, credit card, ID, etc. They may also have preferred pronouns. A client can have male as their gender, but may still appear “female” due to not being very far along in their transition, or because they’ve decided to only transition socially.
If you want to ensure your clients can fully express their personal identities with you, it is worth working preferred name and pronoun questions into your consultation form to be sure. But at the end of the day, it is always better to ask than to assume.
Although preferred name and pronouns are a pretty simple concept, it means a great deal when they are used correctly and it helps let people know that you respect them and that they can be themselves with you.
There might be times where you mess up and use the wrong pronoun. If this happens, just acknowledge it, apologize and move on. The intention is most important, everyone makes mistakes, and no one wants to feel like they’re walking on eggshells.
Another thing to consider when training a trans individual is where they are at in their transition. Hormone replacement therapy will have an effect on how you will set up a program. For example, a transmasculine individual on testosterone therapy is going to have a higher metabolic rate and increased ability to build muscle than a transmasculine person who is not on testosterone therapy and you may need to adjust accordingly.
If you are not sure if someone is on HRT, it might be best to have a personal conversation with them and ask so you can program for them properly. Other things that may be affected by where someone is at in their transition is comfort level of different movements or even taking progress photos.
Promoting Inclusivity with Your Marketing Materials
Another thing you can do is make sure your marketing materials include images that reflect all types of people. Your club may say it is welcoming to all—and mean it—only to be betrayed by your marketing materials.
Using photographs of people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, weights, body types, and skills can make more people feel welcome. Make it clear that physical activity is both beneficial—and accessible—for everyone.
If you are looking at a way to let those in the LGBTQ+ community know that you are inclusive, and that your business is open and welcoming to all, it might be best to let people know that you train all humans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Small phrases or symbols can go a long way. Even if it is a simple rainbow emoji showing you are LGBTQ+ friendly.
We’re still learning and improving too. These suggestions are just scratching at the surface of what you can do to ensure ALL of your clients feel welcome. Do you have any tips to share in this topic? Let us know!
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