As part of EuropeActive’s commitment to promote and safeguard an inclusive and welcoming environment for all across the fitness and physical activity ecosystem, and as part of EuropeActive’s Inclusion calendar, we are, for the third year, celebrating and acknowledging the LGBTIQ+ community through Pride Month (June). This is further correlated with our European activities as it falls under our awareness-raising activities for our #HealthyLifestyle4All pledge.

As 2023’s Pride Month comes to a close, EuropeActive takes a closer look at how stakeholders of the fitness and physical activity sector are supporting and celebrating Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community, while also taking the time to inform ourselves about the community’s rights.

Between 2012 and 2019 the world’s largest LGBTI surveys reported little progress, if any- the continent’s average findings can be misleading as states who are more proactive in safeguarding LGBT rights will cover the ones who are backsliding. For example, 83% of LGBTI people in Malta believe their government effectively combats discrimination, against 4% in Poland.

In 2019 52% LGBT people reported to be often or always open about their identity (in comparison to 36% in 2012), yet 61% still avoid holding hands in public and 21% felt discriminated against at work- a figure that grew from 19% in 2012. Similarly, 43% LGBT respondents reported feeling discriminated in everyday in 2019 compared to 37% in 2012.[1]

ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Map and Index for 2022 demonstrates that public discourses towards the LGBTI community are increasingly polarised and violent (especially towards trans people) and yet LGBTI rights are progressing thanks to political determination- realities across the continent are nuanced.

Discriminations must be tackled in all spheres of life. As a sector built around enabling and supporting people to be active, the fitness and physical activity ecosystem also has an important role to play in ensuring everyone has access to physical activity and in making everyone feel welcome.

Thankfully, our sector does include some great initiatives and policies that deserve to be celebrated.

Highly active on diversity and inclusion topics, Les Mills has shared some Powerful inspiration from proud trainers who discuss the role fitness played in their lives. As an employer, Les Mills International also boasts New Zealand’s Rainbow tick Standard (which we were told all about last year here).

For the 20th anniversary of section 28 being repealed (a British law that banned the promotion of homosexuality), Puregym collected Seen, Heard & Proud stories that touch on overcoming gym anxiety and feeling welcome inside and out of the gym. Under its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, Puregym has Employee Network Groups for Women, LGBTQ+ and Ethnic. Puregym has been sponsoring Manchester Pride for 9 years and follows their Train Safe Commitment.

Gympass has published some great social media posts this month (here and here), which reflect a broader celebration of inclusion and diversity among its workforce- they also have 14+ international and employee-led affinity groups.                                                                                                                    

This year The Gym Group ran fitness classes across the UK in support of their LGBTQIA+ members and to raise funds for the LGBT HERO charity. In regards to staff and users, TGG have a D&I Manifesto, and specific policies for Transgender Inclusion & Equality Policy, Dignity at the Gym, and Menopause Policy.


Jun 28, 2023 By Ioana Marica