Stories from our Community
Inclusion & Diversity – Stories from our Community
My name is Micah. I am 7 years old. Calisthenics means a lot to me and I want more boys to come to calisthenics. And even if you’re a girl you can come to calisthenics and practice your items. I am a sub-junior and I also do a solo. Why does calisthenics mean a lot to me? Because I build better relationships.
I discovered Calisthenics for the first time in 1999 in Canberra when a work colleague told me about an upcoming Calisthenics competition her daughter was in. It was honestly love at first sight. In 2001 I participated in my first ever seniors class. I absolutely loved it, although I remember being extremely uncoordinated and I struggled with the coordination to handle rods and clubs but by the end of the year I was flat in my splits! In 2001 I did the Grade 1 skills exam and I absolutely loved every moment of it! I found a local recreational club that supported me through the requirements to get my cadet and level 1 coaching qualifications and became a fully qualified Level 1 coach within just a year. I then moved to Melbourne and found a club that offered recreational classes – St Andrew’s Calisthenics. There I was able to participate in all items with full costumes at the end of year concert. In 2012 I even got to perform my first ever Calisthenics solo performance! I now participate with Leawarra Rec Masters I have been in Calisthenics for over 13 years, completed my Grade 1, 2, 3 and 4 exams, and performed in 4 different Calisthenics solos. If you had have told me that I would have achieved all this back in 2001 despite the odds of continually pushing up against gender barriers I would not have believed you! Needless to say I am and still remain extremely passionate about the sport and I love to watch competitions as well as volunteer and help out where ever I can. I am extremely grateful to CaliVic for looking to change the rules around males competing in Calisthenics in the near future, not just to be able to compete but so that I can actually finally participate at the level I want and at any club, rather than just being limited to those that offer recreational classes. I am also extremely grateful to every coach I’ve ever had for believing in me and allowing me to participate in this sport I love so much.
Our Calisthenics Victoria community includes members from the of 2 through to their 80s! One of our members who participates in our CaliFit product celebrated her 73rd Birthday this year and loves being able to continue to participate in Calisthenics her way after many years of friendship and fitness. Happy Birthday Pamela!
Mia is a proud Aboriginal community member. Mia encourages other First Nations Community Members to be involved in the amazing sport of Calisthenics. Mia’s mum Rebecca this year opened First Nation’s Calisthenics Club, a club aimed at ensuring First Nation’s children have a culturally safe and happy place to participate in calisthenics. Mia’s graceful solo was a culturally inspired routine about the stolen generation and was a proud moment for her, her mum and the greater community.
Mia and First Nations recently featured in a news story, to read more about their new club and achievements please click here
Ever since I was a tiny toddler I loved Calisthenics. I am disabled and found it very challenging but that never stopped me. As a little kid “girl” and “she” never really fit right, but I just figured all little girls felt like that. But then puberty came. And suddenly my body was changing in a way that I hated. And everyone was saying that I would end up with a boy. That last part didn’t seem so bad, but I didn’t understand why my partner had to be a boy. Then I joined high school and I learned about the term bisexual and finally something made sense. I knew I liked girls, but I didn’t want to be one. And then a friend of mine came out to my as non binary and my whole world came crashing down, in the best possible way. For two years I kept my secret, but eventually I told my parents. Home wasn’t really a safe space at that point, but the studio was. After knowing me as a girl and by a different name for 12 years everyone at the studio called me Jamie and they. Thursdays were by far my favourite night of the week. As I only came out part way through 2021 I still had to wear a dress for razza, which was a bit dysphoric but the support of my team helped me get through it. Now in 2023 I wear the same costumes, make up and hair as the cis boy in my team. I know so many people from Sterling who went through the struggle of figuring out that they’re LGBTQIA+ in a cis-het normative world all on their own. Imagine how much easier it would have been for all of us if we’d told each other, to know that we’re not alone. Despite my gender identity and disability Sterling has always been an incredibly inclusive and safe space for me, and it is my home. When school and home were tough Calisthenics was one of the only things that could get me through it. So thank you for having Wear It Purple day, and I hope the next generation of LGBTQIA+ stories are stories of acceptance, love and warmth.
My daughter first joined Calisthenics expressly due to the wonderfully inclusive rules about transgender performers. She has always loved to dance. We have seen her bloom from a shy tiny to an extraordinary Intermediate, winning in solo season and embraced by her peers! She is not out to her whole club (only trusted coaches know), so she is entirely free to be loved and celebrated for the human she is and not restricted by others perception of her gender identity! Thank you Calisthenics Victoria. You have given her more than you will ever know…💜
‘I started doing calisthenics last year, but I have been watching my older sister do it for a few years. This year I am in the subbies team and I am very lucky that I get to have 1 year of being in the same team as my sister because she can help me learn clubs. My gender is non-binary, and I use they/them pronouns. My favourite thing about calisthenics is definitely the beautiful costumes, especially the aesthetics dresses. I also love when I get to perform on stage. At the beginning of this year we joined the Chelsea calisthenics club and we have made lots of new friends. I love spending time with the team at practice and backstage at comps because we have so much fun together. Everyone at the club has been working really hard to make sure they now use gender-neutral language and that makes me feel good. It has taken some practice because they’ve always called the team “the girls”, but they’re getting much better! I hope that more gender-diverse kids join calisthenics because it’s a great sport.’
Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community was always complicated for me growing up, but I’ve been so fortunate enough to have had friends in my team (who I compete with now) who are super supportive of me. They really made me smile this year with a card that referenced me in the community for my birthday. I am so grateful for these people!