The OUT Foundation is on a mission to remove the barriers that block LGBTQ+ people from accessing and participating in fitness, health, and wellness. The foundation is dedicated to nurturing, empowering, and celebrating LGBTQ+ bodies and minds.
This year, the CrossFit Open is partnering with The OUT Foundation to support the goals of the organization.
What started as a small social group inviting gay people to come together to have fun, laugh, and work out quickly expanded to a nonprofit organization empowering the whole of the LGBTQ+ community to strive for better health through community-based fitness.
Founder of The OUT Foundation Will Lanier said the overarching goals are to help members of the LGBTQ+ communities feel comfortable in welcoming fitness spaces and help them navigate barriers to entry in the realm of health and wellness.
“The way we do that is through our events,” Lanier said.
The OUT Foundation partners with CrossFit affiliates around the country who want to host OUTAthletics events at their box. The OUT Foundation's staff helps the affiliate promote the event, provides a registration page, and more, to help bring LGBTQ+ CrossFitters and allies together to experience the sport in a place where they feel safe and welcome to be who they are. Once an affiliate is deemed a welcoming and inclusive place for the LGBTQ+ community — through hosting an event and a self-report — they are added to The OUT Foundation's official Inclusive Gym Finder map to help LGBTQ+ athletes looking for a welcoming space to drop in to or start their fitness journey.
The OUT Foundation events “bring people into the fold of fitness and also provide a safe space for people who are afraid of fitness,” Lanier said.
LGBTQ+ people who feel uncomfortable in their bodies are unlikely to seek out a fitness space on their own, Lanier said. That’s where OUT comes in, educating members on what community-based fitness is and how inclusivity can stem from it.
OUT in the Open
OUT in the Open is a charity event coinciding with the CrossFit Open. The event benefits the foundation’s programs and advocates for access and inclusion in fitness. The event raised $30,000 in 2020. This year, the event is projected to raise $40,000, said Executive Director Eddie Plata.
OUT in the Open features an all-gender, 100-percent inclusive leaderboard for the LGBTQ+ community and allies, which will correspond with the 2021 Open.
“We eliminate the binary competition categories so that we can all compete together as a community,” says the foundation’s website.
“We started it because there wasn’t a place for nonbinary folks and trans folks to compete as their gender or non-gender,” Lanier said.
“The OUT leaderboard removes gender completely,” he added. “Everyone competes on the same level.”
Lanier said Open programming always proves to be equitable.
“Dave (Castro) does a really great job in his programming for the Open. There’s no clear winner across any gender,” Lanier said of past Open workouts. “It’s a testament to Dave’s programming because it is a true test of fitness.”
OUT in the Open started in 2018 as the first and only all-inclusive CrossFit Games leaderboard for the LGBTQ+ community. This year the foundation will continue to celebrate those who are OUT in the OPEN.
The foundation is hosting three Friday Night Lights events at different affiliates around the U.S. Though these will be private events due to current COVID regulations, Plata said they will be offering ways to participate in the events via Zoom. Stay tuned to The OUT Foundation Instagram page for updates.
To participate in OUT in the Open, first sign up for the CrossFit Open, and then head to the foundation’s website to register.