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June 25, 2021

Pan, Founder of the Freeklime Queer Climbing Club

Hi everyone! If you don’t know me, my name’s Pan, I’m 26, non-binary, and I love to climb. I recently set up a Queer Climbing Club based here at Freeklime.

I was never massively into sport or fitness growing up. I played the odd game of cricket in the garden with my brother, but as far as exercise went, running for the college bus was about the most I did! So, when some friends in Manchester invited me to a bouldering session, I was intrigued; I’d heard about climbing and it seemed pretty doable. I went along and immediately fell in love with it.

I quickly discovered that climbing helps me forget about gender for a bit.

Being non-binary can be exhausting – there is still so much stigma and transphobia in the world, and it can be hard not to feel disheartened every day. But when I’m using my body to get up the climbing wall, it’s in such a gender-neutral way. It’s obvious that people of any gender can climb, so it’s completely inclusive.

Saying that, the first time I ever went climbing by myself, I was super intimidated by all these big burly men with their shirts off, throwing themselves across the walls. It was scary! I managed to get through the next hour, mostly keeping to the opposite side of the centre to them, but overall, I loved it and knew I wanted to keep this up.

If you go to any climbing gym, most of the climbers will be men. This can be very intimidating for people in more marginalised communities, which is why I decided to set up the Queer Climbing Club. I wanted to create an inclusive space where people from the LGBTQ+ community could feel safe, whilst learning a new sport/hobby that they might have been too anxious to try before.

You can join the Queer Climbing Club on Monday nights from 8 – 10pm at Freeklime. Anyone aged 16 and over who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community is welcome to come along and enjoy a safe, fun and inclusive climbing session. You can book your session online, or give Freeklime a ring on 01484 907 026.

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