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Stay connected and get involved

Olivia Newton-John once sang the famous lines let’s get physical. This a motto I live by. Being physical is always the first thing people think of when questioned about well-being. In reality, there are many pillars of good well-being, a few are spiritual and financial, and the one we discuss today is social.

And before we start, I’m Mark, the 40 + fitness fanatic back again for the March issue of the fabulous QX magazine. In this column, we discuss everything well-being, from self-love to squats, from sober raving to speed dating and the general going on in the queer London scene.

The world is spinning, and it feels for some that things are out of control. Looking closer to home, LGBTQIA rights are continually being threatened. Victimisation of trans friends and family members continues, along with the challenges of all our identities; there has never been a more important time to connect with our community and display a united front of strength and support. 

At Workout with Pride, we believe that a stronger community benefits everyone. Over the years, we have collaborated with Mermaids Charity which supports trans youth, Mind-out, an LGBTQIA mental health charity. This month we are partnering with Terrance Higgins trust to help a few of their members prepare for the London marathon.

I reached out to Miles Edwards, who is running the London Marathon 2023 for Terrence Higgins Trust and asked, “Why is it so important for him to run for Terrence Higgins’s trust?”  

Here’s what Miles had to say:

“I’m running the London Marathon 2023 in aid of the fabulous Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading sexual health charity. I’ve volunteered and fundraised for the charity since 2017; this will be my fourth sponsored run, and I will make it the biggest, best, and campest yet! 

The charity has worked tirelessly since its establishment in 1982, during the AIDS crisis, to reduce HIV transmissions, support HIV+ people, and mitigate the stigma against them. Sadly, the virus continues to spread, and the stigma attached to the illness remains highly toxic and alienating. As a gay man, I identify and sympathise with the alienation people living with HIV still suffer in the UK today. With your help, THT can ensure that people living with HIV are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve.

My motivation for first supporting the charity was rooted in a desire to do something for the LGBTQ+ community when I was eighteen when I didn’t feel that “present”, as it were, as a queer person. It was a wonderful way to feel more connected to my queer peers, make some new friends, and feel more comfortable in my identity as a queer and gay man. I would recommend volunteering for THT to anyone with a passion for activism and a desire to make a difference – or anyone just looking to have fun! Fundraising is often a blast. 

Since signing up for the marathon, I’ve joined Terrence Higgins Trust as a member of the fundraising team, so I’m now in the unique position of managing the event I originally signed up for as a volunteer. I’m trying to lead by example and be as proactive as possible in my fundraising: I’ve held many bucket collections after the gay comedy ‘Game Night’; I’ve held virtual fundraising events, including one in which I spelt out ‘THT’ with my running route, using my Strava app; I’ve asked and re-asked my friends and family for support in person and on social media; and I’ve donated my birthday and Christmas presents to my fundraising. 

I do this because I believe in Terrence Higgins Trust’s strategy to end HIV transmission in the UK by 2030. We are on the cusp of a truly momentous achievement – ending the frequent spread of an illness that once claimed the lives of so many in our community, who passed away far too young.”

Using the following link, you can sponsor Miles and his team and help THT continue to challenge the HIV stigma and end HIV transmissions.

Back to the subject of staying social, Workout with Pride is currently working with the LGBTQIA centre in Blackfriars to deliver a weekly run club. If you have not visited the centre before, put this on your to-do list. 

The centre is an essential community hub that provides a safe space for all LGBTQIA persons and allies. When visiting the centre, you’ll be overcome with how welcoming and inclusive it is; everyone is engaging to speak with. While there, you might be interested in signing up to learn a new skill or language. Be sure to check out their weekly timetable of events.

Lastly, we were devastated to hear of the passing of Brianna Ghey. The news has sent shockwaves through the community.  

Not a phase, a trans-led charity has several significant initiatives. They run various wellness classes and diversity and inclusion training workshops for companies and employers. The work they do is so valuable. If you want to get involved, you can use the link below to book a class or a D&I training session. 

As cliché as this might sound, we all have an opportunity to progress the visibility and rights of existing and future generations of LGBTQIA persons. We all have a voice and can be passionate about what we feel is needed in the community to drive support, educate or champion the ideas to protect us all. 

Stay connected, get involved and never forget to remember our queer history! 

Article written by Mark Hugues
Mark is a 40+ fitness fanatic and founder of Workout with PRIDE. He is a fitness veteran with over 10+ years in the fitness industry.

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