Meet Our PRIDE PANEL!
In the lead up to Pride, we wanted to make sure that we were supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the best way possible. We recruited two of our amazing FLYKICK customers, Jon and Craig, as team members to help us make sure that our plans to celebrate Pride were positive and helpful, and to brainstorm some more exciting ways that we can continue to support the LGBTQ+ community and our chosen charity partners, The Albert Kennedy Trust, beyond just Pride and June.
Here’s a chance for you to get to know a little bit more about Jon and Craig:
With Pride celebrating its 50th year in London, have you seen a shift in the way London embraces Pride during your time here?
CRAIG: As a London transplant from the US, this is only my second Pride here in this beautiful city. On a global scale, Pride has grown from small parades to enormous celebrations with corporate backing. With this larger acceptance and participation by more people, the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community receive a greater highlight.
JON: We have seen a massive change of public support for the LGBTQ community over the past fifty years and Pride celebrations have no doubt helped increase the speed of people's support. But this community has not always seen this level of support as marriage equality in England only passed six years ago. As we celebrate Pride in London, let us celebrate the people who have fought to get us where we are today and for LGBTQ people around the world that are still fighting and praying for the same level of support as we have.
“Support Pride by supporting all those who live within the margins of society and leading your life with love and compassion, 24/7/365".”
What do you feel is most important for Londoners to understand about Pride, and how to support it well?
CRAIG: London is similar to a lot of big cities around the world in that it is vibrant, diverse, and inclusive. It's a common misconception that everyone in the city celebrates these values, and it's important to remember that there is a world outside of the London bubble. Transgendered people around the world are targeted, attacked and murdered for living their true selves. Even in London this month a lesbian couple was viciously attacked on a bus by a group of hateful bigots. When people ask why Pride is needed, or why there isn't a 'Straight' Pride, this is the reason. Support Pride by supporting all those who live within the margins of society and leading your life with love and compassion, 24/7/365.
JON: Pride is more than a parade, bright colours, and glitter. It's public events that tells a group of individuals that they are loved and wanted regardless of who you are. Everyone in the LGBTQ community has a different story. Some stories are full of love and compassion and other stories are laced with pain and suffering. Some stories are shared with family, friends and are shouted from the mountain tops and other stories are hidden from the public in fear of others reactions. Pride allows people to come together from where ever they are in their story to say they are not alone, they are wanted, they are accepted, and they are awesome AF.
What would you like to see more from in the fitness industry to support the LGBTQ community?
CRAIG: I would like to see more businesses in the fitness community follow the leadership of Flykick, and make a long term, sustained effort to support LGBTQ+ projects and initiatives year round. It's easy to throw a rainbow flag in your window, have one benefit class, and call it Pride. It takes commitment to develop a partnership that transcends the month of June. Flykick's partnership with the Albert Kennedy Trust shows this commitment, and sets a strong example for what we need to see more of.
JON: The fitness community has a critical role in supporting the LGBTQ community, but also every community. People come to classes to put aside their stress, their anxieties, and their day-to-day lives for a period of time to focus on their individual well-being and self-love. Sometimes that means they need the hardest workout of their life and sometimes it s a warm welcome and friendly conversation. The fitness community is so primed to have these positive interactions in people's lives regardless of which community people come from. A safe place, a genuine welcome and a hard sweat sesh can change a person's life.
“A safe place, a genuine welcome and a hard sweat sesh can change a person's life.”
How did you come to know of FLYKICK / try FLYKICK?
CRAIG: I came to find Flykick last February through a gay social meet up! I love trying new workouts, and Flykick challenged me more physically and mentally than any other class I have taken in London. I've been hooked ever since!
JON: One of the ways my partner and I enjoy spending quality time together is by staying fit and taking classes together especially at new studios and formats that we haven't tried before. We were invited to a social event through Mr. Social that included a Flykick class at the studio and a fun happy hour together afterword. What's better than a new class and happy hour? After that first class with Elyse we were hooked. We knew this was a special space and community we wanted to belong to.
Has FLYKICK or any other type of physical activity influenced your journey / Empowered you? Connected you to the London community etc?
CRAIG: It's not a small thing to decide where to spend your money on fitness with all the different boutique studios around London. More than just an incredible workout, Flykick provides the heart and soul that a lot of other places lack. The front of house staff goes to great lengths to remember clients, the trainers are motivational and make you feel good about your work, and you are surrounded by good vibes from all the other people in class with you. Flykick has given me more confidence outside of the studio, and has created a space to meet and connect with other people on their own fitness journey. All of the fun social activities and challenges makes it a place I WANT to spend my money and time at.
JON: My partner and I recently moved from the US to London and honestly we were feeling a bit lost. We have always felt at home in the fitness community in other cities, but we were having a hard time finding that same community in London. It was having an impact on our well-being and engagement with living in London. BUT then we discovered Flykick and everything changed for the better. We not only get a fun and challenging workout at Flykick, but we also genuinely look forward to seeing the awesome people and vibes in the studio that make us feel like we belong here. Our well-being is back to 100% and we now love this city.
FLYKICK Makes me feel ‘fly(kick) as fuck’
How has Flykick made you feel as an individual - relation to pride or not - can you describe it in 3 words?
CRAIG: Fly(kick) As Fuck.
JON: Sweaty vibes & community.