Today we speak to Sam, one of our amazing Fitzrovia Front of House team, who shares his journey and allyship with the LGBTQ+ community.
“Pride is about making sure everyone is on the same page – an opportunity to educate, inspire and push for change. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or an ally, Pride allows unity for the community to grow from strength to strength."
I’m a massive advocate for strong allyship to the community. I find that it’s often a challenge for allies of the community to speak up about pressing issues being faced by LGBTQ+ individual's without speaking over members of the LGBTQ+ community, upholding and providing a strong platform for their voices to be heard. The space created at Digme allows open discussion between members, staff and instructors which ensures a symbiotic relationship develops between those that identify as LGBTQ+ and our allies. This relationship furthers understanding, increases confidence, and empowers allies to speak out about LGBTQ+ needs and challenge LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Since being a member of Digme for almost two years and more recently joining the team as a member of the Front of House team, I have always felt comfortable and welcome in all the studios – an environment that is not always fabricated successfully in many fitness studios and gyms. Not only does Digme create a safe space for those that identify as LGBTQ+ but collectively, a community has been formed that is welcoming with open arms for everyone. I recently started training for the 2021 London Marathon and a bucket load of thanks goes to Digme and the incredible instructors that consistently give maximum energy and joy in all their classes. Also, forever non-judgemental with their approach regardless of ability, sexuality, gender, race and more.
Beyond the front desk of Digme, I’m in my penultimate year of studying Medicine before qualifying as a doctor. Over the last five years of my medical training, I have been actively involved in many endeavours to aid and encourage open discussion around LGBTQ+ matters. Serving as the Welfare Officer for the Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals Medical Students’ Association, I was able to host talks with notable LGBTQ+ individual's and create social media content to inform others of terminology, history, and personal stories from within the LGBTQ+ community. In doing this, I’m providing an avenue for the community to be further understood and accepted. Academically I have carried out research looking into the effect of having same sex parents on the literacy development in young children and more recently my research on the need for more LGBTQ+ adolescent mental health teaching within the medical school curriculum was presented at the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) 2021 conference.
It is important to remember that although Pride may only occur periodically throughout the year, the LGBTQ+ community and the people within face discrimination and challenges daily. Many LGBTQ+ individual's face pressures from within the community itself and this is largely unnoticed on a population level. A Huffington Post named ‘The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness’ is a worthwhile read to understand that even when you begin to accept yourself, many are continually seeking acceptance from the LGBTQ+ community itself.
My message is to be kind to one another, speak up, speak out and be PROUD!