Black and trans groups empower diverse movers, avoid toxic gym culture

Asher Freeman flipped the card the trainer handed them over and over, examining illustrations of different body types labeled with fat percentages. One side men, the other women. Freeman considered the trainer’s question: Which one do you want to look like?

Freeman wanted to grow muscles to “present in a way that was more in line with [their] gender identity,” which didn’t match either choice on the card. That felt difficult to explain when presented with only two options on the card, and the same limited locker room choices.

Freeman experienced “a lot of weird interactions that trans people have most places” at big box gyms, the same type of fitness centers Lore McSpadden-Walker also worked at briefly. There, McSpadden-Walker hid their identity to feel safe.