This past week CrossFit suddenly found itself in the mercy of the gay community. Not only for one of their franchise gyms cancelling a Pride Themed workout in response to the owners’ religious views. But also, when one of the CrossFit executives took to Twitter in support of said owner in a weird, anti-gay rant. The response was immediate as people started to speak up against said executive, responding to his tweets, reposting his comments with their own and fanning the fire of this flame war. Once this caught on in the world of gay media, including myself, to put undue pressure on CrossFit about this representative of theirs. Greg Glassman, the CEO of CrossFit was quick to respond and diminish the comments of his employee while working hard to do damage control as the whole event was unraveling. This ultimately led to an apologetic statement on CrossFit’s behalf that also culminated in the employee losing their job, deleting their Tweets and ultimately their account.
After the ruling of SCOTUS in regard to Masterpiece Bakery, in addition to the current administration continuing to chip away at the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals every day. Tensions are certainly high as people are on the defensive against those who are reasserting themselves to try and reduce us to second class citizenship. CrossFit has long had a strong membership base from the LGBTQ+ community, with many people who have enjoyed the community and comradery aspect that CrossFit offers. CrossFit has played an important part in helping LGBTQ+ people find self-acceptance, confidence, and friendship. Thus it is understandable why so many people were hurt by this particular executive’s anti-gay statements.
While the outrage was large, and the action was taken sift. Greg Glassman did clarify that CrossFit is a welcoming community, open to all and in appreciation of their gay members. The initial outrage, however, did not achieve much in taking the opportunity to really educate and help the people involved understand exactly how and why the LGBTQ+ community was hurt by their statements.
With religious extremism seemingly at an all-time high, the former “Chief Knowledge Officer” left his job and Twitter account, likely with the same perceptions of LGBTQ+ people as “sinners” as he had before, with his opinions (albeit untrue) validated. Returning home with his tail tucked between his legs but no more understanding of our cause, unfortunately we did not achieve very much to show that “Love Wins” when we responded with such outrage.
Is it about getting one asshole fired? Or is it about challenging and changing people’s perceptions of LGBTQ+ people against heteronormativity? Again, I am as guilty of this as anyone else. It is important to be aware and reflect on one’s own mistakes if we are to learn from them. The LGBTQ+ community has a history of unification through anger, but at the same time we promote a “love first” ideology, so why can’t we come together to educate and change someone’s mind about who we love and how we live? Does it really come down to who’s voice is simply louder? How will that help destroy the misconceptions about LGBTQ+ people if we stoop to their level? As Michelle Obama said, “when they go low, we must go high” and we all need to do our part to reach higher.
By Dirk Smith