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Rocky River gym inspires LGBTQ community

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 18:12:16-05

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — "I was able to have the confidence to do things because of the acceptance I get here," said Lisa Alleman.

Alleman says she's tried it all before.

"I've been everywhere from Curves, to the Y to big gyms," she said.

She's always self conscious at gyms.

"A lot of places I've been the biggest person in the room exercising," said Alleman.

Allemen's kid, Grey, convinced their mom to go to Amplio Fitness for a youth group activity and she was hooked.

"It was a whole range of kids and adults and everybody was just accepted for what they could do and applauded for participating," said Alleman.

Allemen says she's always looking for LGBTQ friendly places for Grey.

"My kid is non-binary and identify as pan-use they/them pronouns," she said.

Amplio Fitness is exactly that, it's the first LGBTQ affirming gym in the Northeast Ohio area.

"There's no one right way to be fit. There's no one correct way to be active," said Amplio Fitness owner Belle Ursa.

Ursa and her business partner John Hall opened Amplio a little more than a year ago in Rocky River.

They say having a gym as a safe space can elevate lots of anxiety.

"To speak to the trans and non binary communities specifically, locker rooms are a very big deal," said Ursa. "Is society going to accept it? Do I look the part? Am I going to get harassed? Am I going to get attacked?"

The focus is to make sure every single one of their clients always feels welcome even something as simple as their intake form is inclusive.

"On all of our intake forms, we have preferred name, legal name and preferred pronouns because we know that a lot of folks are in very many places within their journey," said Ursa.

Ursa says lots of her clients have been afraid to step into a gym, but now that's all changing.

"To see the light explode in their eyes and the confidence grow, it gives back to us and to knowing we are really cultivating a space that is intentional and purposeful and effective," she said.

A change Allemen says is for the better.

"It feels like exactly the kind of world I want for my kid," she said.