Chris Morgan, World Champion powerlifter & co-president of the LGBT Powerlifting Union, gets us up to date with the latest news on this strength sport
Describe powerlifting in a few words.
There are three strength disciplines in the sport – squat, bench press and deadlift – and various
sub-disciplines such as full powerlifting, which is the total of all three lifts combined. There are
also single lifts, which is where the competition is for the separate disciplines.
“I just wanted to give something back to the LGBTQ+ sports community and provide the very best sports event I could for people to look forward to each year.”
Powerlifting is a strength sport, with a strong sense of community, where lifters and officials
support each other and their efforts. It is truly a sport for people of all shapes, sizes and ages
as there are weight classes and age groups for all lifters.
When did you set up LGBT Powerlifting and what inspired it?
LGBT IPC was set up in 2017 and was a direct response to powerlifting being omitted from the list of sports for Gay Games in 2018. I just wanted to give something back to the LGBTQ+ sports community and provide the very best sports event I could for people to look forward to each year.
What is the LGBT IPC weekend?
LGBT IPC is a weekend where strength athletes from all over the world come together to
compete and socialise. We deliver an event that is the equivalent of any world championships
as a production, but the key difference is that anyone can compete – there are no qualifying
standards. We welcome everyone, regardless of their sexuality, gender, age, ability, health
status or religious beliefs.
What are your main aims for LGBT IPC?
Our aim is to encourage participation in the sport and provide an inclusive safe space for
LGBTQ+ athletes to develop. We have a large intake of novice and first-time lifters each year,
which means we have grown significantly since we started. We also welcome straight athletes –
all are welcome at LGBT IPC.
How many competitors are you expecting for the 2022 Championships?
We are expecting a full roster of 80 athletes in Manchester 2022, as we have a roll-over registration from the previous year due to Covid and we are also adding new capacity. Registration is now open for this next edition of LGBT IPC.
“We deliver an event that is the equivalent of any world championships as a production, but the key difference is that anyone can compete – there are no qualifying standards. We welcome everyone, regardless of their sexuality, gender, age, ability, health status or religious beliefs.”
How is LGBT IPC different from other powerlifting competitions?
We are a non-sanctioned competitive event and have made some minor adaptations to
the mainstream rules so people with health conditions are able to compete with us without
worries or issues around their medications or hormone treatments. We also have genderneutral
weight classes that apply to everyone.
Why did you introduce the optional MX category within LGBT IPC?
MX category was introduced as a way of reaching out to trans, non-binary and intersex
athletes, welcoming them to compete at LGBT IPC in their chosen gender. They are able to
choose whether they compete as male, female or MX from the day they make their decision.
Why did you feel it so important to introduce the category?
We were the first sports event in the world to introduce the optional MX category in 2017. At
the time this was controversial, but members of our group asked us for this because they wanted
to lift in a category that aligned with their gender identities. It was important to listen to our lifters and we wanted them to feel as welcome as possible.
“Powerlifting is due to return to the Gay Games in Hong Kong 2023 for the first time since 2014. We are very grateful to the Federation of Gay Games and Hong Kong 2023 for their support.”
What has the uptake on the MX category been like?
At the time we introduced it we commented that maybe in four years we could have a third male, female and MX lifters. As we approach Manchester 2022, and what will be our fourth edition, we are going to achieve 25% participation from trans and MX powerlifters, which is incredible – we are very proud of our trans and MX powerlifters.
How will you attract more people to the sport?
We attract a significant number of new lifters each year, as we offer a separate novice category where people can start their careers. We support them through our workshops and offer the best possible coaching and facilities. Our novice category is one of the biggest successes of LGBT IPC.
What are the various routes to platform?
We offer a ‘route to platform’ that is ‘all equal’. When athletes walk into our workshops they have the same opportunity as anyone else to make the LGBT IPC platform, then go on to national qualifiers, national championships and right through to competing at the World Championships. In 2019, an LGBT IPC athlete took a gold medal at the World Championships for the first time.
“As we approach Manchester 2022, and what will be our fourth edition, we are going to achieve 25% participation from trans and MX powerlifters, which is incredible – we are very proud of our trans and MX powerlifters.”
When can we expect to see powerlifting return to the Gay Games?
Powerlifting is due to return to the Gay Games in Hong Kong 2023 for the first time since 2014. We are very grateful to the Federation of Gay Games and Hong Kong 2023 for their support of the sport of powerlifting and I look forward to working with them to deliver this event as their technical director.
Any future events for LGBTQ+ powerlifters?
We have workshops for the new intake Class of 2022 in March 2022. The dates for the next edition of LGBT IPC 2022 are July 29-31 and it will be taking place at Trinity Sports Centre, which is only five minutes from the Gay Village in Manchester.
And finally, do you have any personal goals and ambitions left in the sport?
Absolutely. There are a few British and world records that are on my mind at the moment and I plan to return to the platform in early 2022 and once again compete for Great Britain at the European and World Championships.
For more info about LGBT Powerlifting, CLICK HERE
For more info about Chris’s career, CLICK HERE
For more about the Gay Games, CLICK HERE or for Hong King 2023, CLICK HERE
The LGBT IPC Facebook Group can be found HERE
About Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan started his powerlifting career at the Gay Games 1998 in Amsterdam and he has won a total of six Gay Games gold medals. He’s one of the global ambassadors for the Federation of Gay Games and the Gay Games happening in Hong Kong in 2023.
His career so far has spanned a total of 23 years and there has been a natural progression from qualifying for his first British Championships in 2004, right through to winning a total of 10 World Championship titles to the present day.
Chris’s career record on the platform totals 10 World Championship gold medals, five European Championships gold medals and 18 British Championships titles. He has won six British Championships Best Lifter titles and in 2013 he won the overall Best Lifer title at the European Championships.
He’s also an active referee in the sport and qualified as an international referee in 2009. He is part of the officials team that helps to deliver the World Championships each year. In his latest role, he is the Meet Director of the LGBT International Powerlifting Championships (LGBT IPC).