Bed-Stuy gym opens as safe place for LGBTQ+ in Brooklyn

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No name calling, harassment or judgment is the goal of a gym in Bed-Stuy.

The founders of Strength for All realized that some commercial gyms were not addressing the needs of women and the LGBTQ+ community.

“It's just like any gym in our borough except this gym is really existing to bring people that might not necessarily feel comfortable in other gyms for any host of reasons into our space,” says Shannon Wagner, of the Women's Strength Coalition/Strength for All.

The nonprofit Women's Strength Coalition opened this gym on DeKalb Avenue, Strength for All, in March.

“We are a gender affirming gym, we will use your correct pronoun and in addition to that, our gym has a zero tolerance harassment policy and that is in place to ensure that all members truly do feel safe inside of our space,” says Wagner.

They say they take that policy very seriously if they see any name calling or harassment the person will be kicked out.

For the third year, the organization will take part in the Pull for Pride on June 22, which raises money for local organizations that address homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth. 

After coming out to their families or being discovered as LGBTQ+, one in four youth are kicked out of their homes and over half of them receive a negative response from their family members.

The space was a welcome addition to the neighborhood for Rizalene Zabala who is getting back into weight lifting. 

“All types of people are welcomed and acknowledged and appreciated and I find that really comforting,” says Zabala. “So, we don't have to worry about, I don't feel like it's ever pressured or bullied.”

The gym also lets the individual decide how to meet their goals. 
“We're not here to tell you how you want to look, we just want to bring you in and make you feel comfortable,” says Wagner.

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