As it is unfolding today, we are learning that Crossfit as a corporation, is no stranger to anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. Therefore, it is safe to say, that Crossfit. As a company, is not friendly to the LGBTQ+ community. Here are a few previous examples…
In 2014, an openly transgender athlete Chloie Jonsson, sought to compete at the 2013 Crossfit Games but was denied entry into the event because of her status as a transgender female. She was told, by Crossfit, that their policies for competition had required her compete in her gender assigned at birth rather than the gender she now identified as. Or not compete at all. Their response to Chloie…
“Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots — it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school.”
Which, as myself being a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with an extensive background in kinesiology and exercise science, I can tell you that their response is not only completely wrong from a physiological and fundamental biological level. But that they also have no understanding of the kind of physiological changes that transgender people undertake when they transition and how it affects their performance in exercise, fitness and sport. Legitimate organizations such as the International Olympic Committee have adopted much more progressive and scientifically based policies that are more inclusive of transgender and intersex athletes.
Ultimately, Chloie launched a lawsuit against Crossfit, Inc. However, it is not believed a settlement has been reached as of yet.
In more recent news, as in this very week. A CrossFit box in Indianapolis (which has no shortage of their own anti-gay business owners seeking their 15 minutes of fame.) called CrossFit Infiltrate had the owner recently cancel their Pride themed workout that was organized by the coaches of the Box due to his religious fundamentalism. In a statement released by Brandon Lowe stated; “The gym has a history of welcoming and serving people training to be fit.” and “The gym never has and never will be anything but welcoming to all human beings who live, move and breathe and God’s world.” Which apparently doesn’t include gay people.
CrossFit operates on a franchise model, which means that the CrossFit corporation has little involvement in the specific gyms that are CrossFit branded. Known as “Affiliates” these gym owners pay CrossFit a hefty franchise fee to use the name and then hire coaches who have gone through CrossFit’s expensive and albeit questionable coaching certification programs. The CrossFit corporation itself organizes, hosts and officiates “The CrossFit Games” which is an athletic competition built around CrossFit’s training philosophies. While there are certainly many CrossFit branded gyms that are friendly and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. From the corporate level, based on their exclusion of transgender athletes, out of date and uneducated policies as well as the statements from certain executives. It is clear CrossFit itself is not, and it will take more than words and tweets. It will take a fundamental reevaluation of their policies in regard to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participation in their events.
By Dirk Smith