Sinéad from Life Style Sports encourages LGBTQ+ people who want to return to fitness

Being active is great for your emotional and mental health as well your physical health.

A smiling young woman with long hair in front of a rainbow background

Throughout the month of May, GCN partnered with Life Style Sports on the #GCN100KinMay campaign, encouraging people to get up and active while raising some much-needed funds for Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ press.

Alongside Life Style Sports providing seed funding of €3,333 in aid of GCN’s 33rd birthday, some of their own team also took part, smashing the 100k in no time! One of those people was Sinéad Whelan who finished the challenge in less than two weeks – incredible!

So why did Sinéad get involved in the challenge? She explained, “It’s so easy to go home, sit on the couch and get into a rut. You can get in on yourself – you feel lazy. Once you get up go for that five, 20 minute walk even, you just come back a different person I think. It’s great for your mindset, it’s great for your humour.”

Born and raised in Athlone, Sinead knows she had been lucky as an LGBTQ+ person not to have encountered any barriers to being included in sport. “It was never frowned upon” in her community, she shared. She also praised her workplace for their inclusivity, sharing, “It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay, Life Style Sports are there to accommodate everyone, they’re there to look after everyone. It doesn’t really matter who you are, or what you are, everyone is treated the same, everyone is equal.”

With LGBTQ+ people underrepresented in sport, and a lack of ‘out’ professional sportspeople in the majority of sports, it can be understood why the community would be worried about taking up sports. Kianan, another member of the Life Style Sports team shared his own journey with not feeling as welcome in certain sports.

Sinéad encouraged those who want to get involved in sports or fitness to ignore the begrudgers. “I think if you care about what people think, you’re always going to doubt, you’re always going to question yourself. You kind of get caught up in the moment and it’s passing you by, you know?

“You’re walking down the street and thinking ‘what are they saying’, and then it’s ‘I can’t go into that shop’. It grows bigger and bigger in your head. Just believe in yourself and who cares? Once you’re happy, look after yourself, and once you have family and friends around to support you, what more do you want?”

“A lot of people in this era are judgemental, or we think that, but the majority of people don’t pass any remarks on you. If we care about what people think, I don’t think we’d get too far in life to be honest.”

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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