BOSTON, Mass. – Everyone is on a journey, physically and mentally, according to 45-year-old Justice Williams.
“We are like caterpillars in a cocoon becoming butterflies,” Williams said. “Everyone is in a constant battle over what our journey is with fitness and wellness.”
Williams is a personal trainer, and even a life coach, who teaches his clients about fitness through the art of kettlebell training.
Williams trains his clients and creates confidence with them. He also runs “Queer Gym,” one of a few workout spaces for the LGBTQ communities that’s made its wave throughout North America in recent years.
Williams started the pop-up gym just outside of Boston, because of his own journey.
“It’s a place people can work out in the LGBTQ community if they don’t feel comfortable in regular gyms,” Williams said. “Gym culture is so hyper-masculine. And during my journey, it was hard to be in those gyms.”
Motivating people and building confidence is why Williams became a personal trainer. Williams is transgender. Ten years ago, Williams needed to lose weight before taking testosterone, but couldn’t find a personal trainer who understood the journey he was on.
“I didn’t have a trainer,” Williams said. “I did things on my own, I taught myself. I learned more about how to be in my body, and how to mentally connect with my body differently. Even though I felt like it didn’t fit.”
Williams said he never knew he could identify as transgender until he moved to Boston in his thirties. He said he went through some depression. But by using fitness and getting healthy, he was able to treat that.
“I got used to being overweight and depressed and just being who I was,” Williams said. “There’s so many systems of oppression. The visual you get is that you’re almost digging your own grave with how oppression treats you. In my cocoon I basically had to understand loving my body regardless of what the world tells me -- it will ensure my health.”
Williams hopes to bring that type of empowerment to clients like him. Not only through his training, but through Queer Gym.
“I utilize this space to not only give information, but to create love,” Williams said. “I hope to create a space that is toxin free. I’m supporting these bodies to build an armor so they can go in other spaces and be their whole selves and make that normal. We are a cocoon and a community…and we make that crazy just a little bit better and that’s what I want to do. Because that helps that butterfly really fly.”