Pull For Pride Athlete Ash Austin: "We’ve come a long way, but we have much further to go."
Name: Ash Austin
Pull for Pride location: Brooklyn
Favorite song to listen to while training: Genghis Khan - Miike Snow
Favorite post-training meal: Any type of burrito bowl.
How do you identify? Tell us a little about yourself:
I have been an LGBTQ+ ally since I was about 15/16. Being raised in Louisiana I knew a lot of people that did not agree with this community. It was easy for me to not be caught up in that mindset because people are people. We should all have access to the same rights no matter who we are.
A few of my friends at the time decided to start a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) at my school and I immediately signed up to participate. However, we were met with much opposition. As the secretary of our club at the time I collected every local newspaper article and opinion piece that people submitted who thought we were doing the devil’s work. It was enough to fill a large 3-ring binder.
Despite the negative attitudes, we persisted and ultimately we were able to start and keep our club. At that time, it was so important to have an outlet to teach tolerance in schools. There was nothing like that and it made an impact on many students lives. I often think back to that time. I use that same resilience to support the community as it has evolved today. We’ve come a long way, but we have much farther to go.
What does Pull for Pride mean to you and what's motivating you to participate?
When did you begin barbell training and what inspired you to start?
What do you find fulfilling about training?
What do you find challenging?
What message or advice do you have for folks who might want to start strength training but aren't sure how or where to begin?
Do you have any advice or encouragements for cisgender and straight allies who want to help make the gym a more welcoming space for trans and queer folks?
Do you have a strength role model(s) in your life (this could be strength training or strength in other ways)?