Winnipeg Notes:
-5th Birthday on Wednesday

Gaston, we are glad you are here. Winnipeg, Gaston is glad you are all here.

Without Further Ado, our guest blog from our guest co-leader Gaston:

Today we celebrated the start of Pride month with a special Pride workout led by very loud and proud member, Gaston. Today’s blog post is a guest post from him, his lived experiences with fitness, November Project, and his passion for everything that he stands for (and no, we are not talking about going for coffee after the workout).

Winnipeg, you are so good.

I am proud of you.

I am beyond proud to be here. Proud to be writing this blog post, proud to have lead today’s workout, proud to have seen you all smile, sweat and enjoy each other’s energy. Generally, I am proud.

That hasn’t always been the case.

I combatted with my sexual orientation for many years. I struggled with the idea of being in a same sex relationship, and what other individuals may think of me. As a young Queer person, I struggled with finding my place in this world, but primarily struggled with fitness spaces, such as gym class in high school.  

Picture of a picture, we’re so meta.

Let’s fast forward through many years of introspection, finding love, meeting incredible human beings, and becoming who I am today. To this day, I think back to gym class as a teenager, and I relive comments that were made about my body, appearance, and to the core, the way that I was. These experiences did not allow me to enjoy myself in this space. Fitness spaces are a struggle for some 2SLGBTQ+ folks for many reasons, and lack of inclusion is on the top of that list…  and that was true for me until I found November Project. 

As a Queer person, the feeling of immediate inclusion hasn’t been one that I have always experienced. Many of us have dealt with exclusion, or hatred, just because of the way that we are, and for many of us, that process of being included is still unfolding to this day.

Kristjana thank you for crushing the bounce and carrying the boom box, just like a leader.

As you know, November Project is a space that is provides that #freefitness and is built on welcoming and including every person with a hug and a high five. It is inhabited by individuals with incredible personalities, a desire to be fit, and a crave for community. From the first bounce that I was part of at the Forks, I knew that I had found a place where my loud, proud, and bright identity was celebrated.

I hope that as a community, we are always celebrating one another. But this month, especially, that we are celebrating our 2SLGBTQ+ members. As you dust off your rainbow tagged November Project shirt, or as you go out and buy a white t-shirt to tag with a rainbow on it, ask yourself if you are willing to take the commitment of being PROUD of being an ally. Just like in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, pride looks different from person to person. But you need to know, as you wear that shirt, you represent a communities’ identity, their struggles, and you represent the change you want to see in the world.

It takes a village…. to rainbow tag 50 shirts in 35 minutes, in the wind.

If you feel comfortable and proud to stand up against homophobia/ transphobia, learning about the 2SLGBTQ+ community, being inclusive in all spaces (November Project included) and donating to 2SLGBTQ+ organizations like Rainbow Resource, then take out that Rainbow tagged shirt, bring that shirt to be tagged and be PROUD of being an ally or a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.  

Pride month is not just a time to go to parties, parades and drink fruity drinks. Pride month comes from a tradition of resistance to a rebellion that occurred in 1969 in New York, when a group of 2SLGBTQ+ New Yorkers fought back against the discrimination of police raids on gay bars. Pride month is a LOUD reminder that our identities have been delegitimized for years, and we, every person wearing that rainbow tagged shirt, celebrate the colors and diverse identities of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Chante you stay.

Finding acceptance, love and inclusion has been something that all Queer folks, and allies have been fighting for. Many battles, like the one that occurred in New York in 1969 have been won, there will be moments where we will need to fight and defend ourselves, with our allies at our sides, just as much as we ever have before.

As Pride Month begins, I ask you, what are we as a community, doing to empower every person that comes into our space? Being proud of who you are comes in many ways; being proud of identifying within the 2SLGBTQ+ community, or identifying yourself as an ally.

As you wear your NP Pride-tagged shirts, remember that they are a symbol for a safer space for everyone. They represent our collective commitment to love and to support each other every single day. This is more than a friendly reminder about what the colors on the rainbow flag stand for. This is a reminder of what WE all stand up for as a PROUD and LOUD community.  

The loudest and proudest,

Now, go, go out into the city as proud members or allies of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.


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