Pull For Pride Athlete Rose-Marie Summerall: Find Something Worth Training For

Name: Rose-Marie Summerall

Age: 18

Pronouns: She/They

Pull for Pride location: Atlanta, GA

Favorite song to listen to while training: “Whatever it takes” by Imagine Dragons

Favorite post-training meal: Anything with a good hunk of protein and salt.

How do you identify? Tell us a little about yourself:

I identify as a trans woman. I’m a big woman who wants to show what trans women can accomplish when they put their dreams above others’ perceptions of them.

What does Pull for Pride mean to you and what's motivating you to participate?

My trainer has been my inspiration to compete. In the months I’ve worked with her, she has shown me how strong I am both physically and emotionally, and inspired me to show off that strength and become an inspiration for others.
This event is such a big deal to me because it won’t just be my first powerlifting event, but it’s also the first time I’ve competed in anything since transitioning.

When did you begin barbell training and what inspired you to start?

I started training on barbell with my trainer only a few months ago, but she’s given me the courage to truly give competing a go, despite my anxieties. She really is my inspiration and I want her to know that she means the world to me.

What do you find fulfilling about training?

Training to me has always felt like something, that no matter how the workout goes, I can walk out feeling I made an improvement to myself just by showing up.
It gives me a sense of pride knowing that going into a gym and showing my strength and persistence.

What do you find challenging?

All of it, because I don’t let it stay at a point where I don’t feel that challenge.
I’ve been pushed by events all my life to be stronger, and my training is something where I can be the one to push myself, and be in control of my own challenge.

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?

The best message I can give is to find something worth training for, whether it be something in your past, something you strive to be, or someone you strive for, and use your passion to light your inner fire.
Whenever you feel doubt or feel overwhelmed, remember your reason for being strong, and let the fire burn through any obstacle in your way.

If you are trans and/or queer, do you have any words of encouragement or insights for other trans and queer folks for navigating gym environments and approaching training?

The gym is a scary place, and I understand. Heck, I sometimes skip the weight portion of my workout because I’m afraid to be called out in the weight room, but remember, they’re never gonna accept you or give you the time of day if they can’t see you, and see your strength for themselves.

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?

To all the allies, the one thing I can say from personal experience that would help, would be to please, show some lifter to lifter respect.
We might not have the bodies “optimal” for the clothes we wear, or have the voices or facial features you expect when we introduce ourselves, but if you can let us show our strength without ogling and give us the space we need, we could have a much better and more wholesome gym experience.

Do you have a strength role model(s) in your life (this could be strength training or strength in other ways)?

My Trainer, Lis Saunders. She has always been there as both a strength figure, and also as a friend. She was there for me on the 2017 Day of Trans Visibility. No one had said anything about it all day, and I had been mis-gendered multiple times through the day. I felt hopeless in my transition.
Then I got a text from Lis, about two paragraphs of her telling me how she knew what day it was, and wanted me to know I mattered and was visible, and honestly, it was the light of hope in an otherwise dark and terrible day. That’s why she is my role model, because that’s what I want to be. I want to be someone who brings hope to the hopeless and makes even the most uncared for feel loved.