Out CrossFit Personal Trainer on Acceptance in Fitness

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday July 25, 2020

On Thursday, Outsports shared a "Coming Out Stories" feature authored by JR Jaquay, an openly gay CrossFit trainer in Los Angeles.

In his story, Jaquay elaborates on growing up in Athens, Texas — he loved singing and gymnastics and had plenty of female friends, but found it difficult to form male bonds. Like many other boys who discover they're "different," he was taunted with homophobic slurs. But as a teenager engaging in high school sports, that changed and he would begin slowly forming friendships with men — and, with that, finding some acceptance.

Throughout the piece, Jaquay recalls the surprise of telling a teammate he was gay, only to be met with the response: "finally." He navigated his professional interests in social working and coaching, ultimately finding more satisfaction in the latter. But the former influenced the work he would undertake in gymnastics, eventually buying a facility in Colorado he worked at and developing his own program.

After having been involved in CrossFit in Colorado, Jaquay sold his gym and moved to Los Angeles in the wake of a break up. He explains how his own struggles for acceptance have informed his work as a CrossFit coach and personal trainer, creating "an atmosphere that is all-inclusive, especially to LGBTQ members. Stepping into a gym can be nerve-wracking and intimidating and the extra stress of 'Will I be accepted for being me?' no longer has a place in the fitness and sports community."

Read Jaquay's heartwarming piece at Outsports.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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