New project will deliver free fitness sessions to trans people in Brighton & Hove during 2016.
Trans Can Sport will support people who feel their transgender identity creates barriers for them to access fitness by providing a series of group sessions for participants at all levels of experience and fitness.
Recent local research has found high levels of non participation in physical activity amongst the trans community.
The Brighton & Hove Trans Needs Assessment found that trans people are less likely to report good physical health.
The same research found that 83% of respondents do not access gyms or participate in organised sport.
The reasons citied included feeling self-conscious, uncomfortable and unsafe, not being able to access a suitable changing area due to gender, having issues with clothing.
Other reasons included finding the environment too unfriendly. Crucially many said they were not able to financially afford getting involved.
Trans people face extra pressure to lose weight for commencement of HRT and for surgery. Being told to simply exercise more is unhelpful given the barriers faced by transgender people.
The Trans Needs Assessment also found that anxiety is experienced by nearly 80% of trans people. Exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem, which is also a problem area for trans people.
Project co-ordinator, Rory Smith said: “I used to feel unable to exercise because of real discomfort and fear surrounding use of the changing rooms and feeling intimidated by other gym users. I’m excited about this project as I know that in the 12 months I’ve been getting fit, my confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing has improved markedly. I want to others to have this opportunity too”.
Personal trainer, Marquita Smith, who will be leading many of the sessions, said: “I’ve been working with trans people in one-on-one and group sessions for some time now, supporting with a range of health and fitness goals. I’m excited to be able to use my experience and techniques to support Trans Can Sport. This will be an excellent opportunity for individuals, who have felt intimidated or uncomfortable to ask for support in mainstream fitness establishments and I’m proud to be apart of it.
The initiative will launch in January, with taster sessions before the main project commences in February. All coaches are trans aware and have experience working with trans clients.
Sessions are open to anyone who identifies as trans or feels their gender identity prevents them from getting fit. Places need to be booked in advance.
Trans Can Sport will provide sessions for free. All you need is to attend in a pair of trainers.
♦ January 12: Trans Can Fight: Boost your confidence learning boxing and kick boxing techniques mixed with high intensity interval training.
♦ January 16: Trans Can Lift: Tone up and learn basic resistance exercises to perform them safely and efficiently.
♦ January 19: Trans Can Sweat: Build up a sweat and learn exercises using your own body, so that you do not have to rely of gyms or equipment.
♦ January 20: Trans Can Swim: Release some stress by swimming at a subsidised session as St. Lukes swimming pool.
♦ Trans Can Yoga tbc: Great for flexibility and wellbeing
For more information and how to sign up, click here:
Or email Rory at email@example.com
Trans Can Sport is funded by a grant of £1,500 from the Brighton & Hove Wellbeing Fund administered by the Sussex Community Foundation.