THE SHORT: Jesse is the founder of Full Sun Fitness, a US-based personal training network for Queer and ally communities, dedicated to bringing safety, equity, and access to fitness spaces. His background as a competitive swimmer inspired years of exploration to deepen his mind+body connection. Jesse studied ballet and modern dance, taught dance to people living with disabilities at the Sydney Dance Company, and has practiced (hot) yoga for 12 years. He is certified in hot sculpt yoga, nutrition coaching, personal training, and corrective exercise. His goal is to bring breath, awareness, and self-compassion to exercise and to help people illuminate and sustain their individual wellness. He is committed to deconstructing harmful fitness trends and says, “Come as you are, not how society says you should be”.
200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT, Yoga Alliance Registry ID: 406484) (YogaRenew) 2023; Master of Public Health in Physical Activity & Nutrition (UNCC) 2023; Elite Trainer (ISSA) 2022; Corrective Exercise Specialist (ISSA) 2022; Level I Functional Movement Systems 2021; Certified Personal Trainer (ISSA) 2020; Certified Nutrition Coach (ISSA) 2020; Certified Hot Sculpt Yoga Teacher (Vibe Yoga) 2018 Courses: Anatomy & Physiology for Transgender Individuals (ACSM) 2021; International Health & Fitness Summit (ACSM) 2021
THE LONG: We are all so much more than our bios, but here’s a bit about me. After a significant life shift in 2018, I decided I wanted a healthier way to build community – one that felt supportive and loving – a community that uplifts each other to be the best they can be and a community that stumbles forward with grace and kindness. The intersection of all of this for me became community wellness. So, I began studying to become a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) and Nutrition Coach. During my studies, I had time to reflect on my own experience around wellness more deeply, drawing out my own insecurities and limitations not only as someone on a wellness journey but as a Queer person trying to clear detrimental habits and unsustainable practices. I have struggled in the fitness arena. Language is often discriminatory, and traumatizing for some, fitness is exclusively body-centric with “beach body” ideals, and the landscape is inundated with toxic masculinity and confining binaries. Now, amplify these challenges from a white cis-gender person, and imagine the burden on our marginalized and ostracized families across Queer and ally communities. Enter Full Sun Fitness. I created this community to challenge social norms and create a safe space where people can build sustainable wellness through fitness with supportive language, visibility, understanding, and camaraderie. I created this community to offer an affordable and personalized coaching option in an otherwise money-driven and capitalistic industry. I created this community to intersect my self-care and compassion with wellness for my Queer family.
We all have identities. Expressing our identities can feel vulnerable, but there is no shame in how we identify, nor in who we are. Our identities affect how we view the world, serve our communities, and interpret our surroundings through our own biases. I offer my positionality statement for transparency. I also encourage you to reflect on your positionality to understand how your identities and your lived experience impact your views. Learn more about positionality here.
Full Sun Fitness (FSF) is dedicated to positively impacting physical activity spaces, experiences, research, education, access, equity, and justice within LGBTQIA+ communities. As the founder of FSF, I acknowledge my position as a white, middle-class, and male presenting leader with a master’s level education. My native language is English, I was born in the United States, and I do not have a diagnosed physical disability. I identify as genderfluid and I use the pronouns he, she, and they. I also identify as queer, gay, biromantic, and bisexual, but I do not have lived experience as a lesbian, transgender, or intersex person, nor do I have lived experience as a non-white person or as a female-identified or presenting person. I own my home and have access to multiple physical activity environments where I feel physically and emotionally safe to show up as I am. My identity characteristics have given me a life of privilege as a result of white and patriarchal oppressive systems. Though I have experienced discrimination, microaggressions, and hardships surrounding my sexuality, gender identity, and non-monogamous and polyamorous relationship preferences, my presenting characteristics have allowed me to remain highly privileged in this society.
I have centered LGBTQIA+ work and activism in my personal and professional life since I felt safe to do so. For 12 years, I have traveled the world educating communities on HIV prevention, care, and stigma. I have researched same-sex marriage opinions across the US, youth HIV care interventions in the South, and leisure time physical activity access for gay and queer men globally. Among deep involvement in LGBTQIA+ community initiatives, educational trainings, and movements, I have an authentic and deep desire to contribute responsibly to the community I identify within.
To do so, it is my responsibility to share my identities, acknowledge my implicit biases, and respect and value the intersectionality of individuals within and beyond the LGBTQIA+ community that have different lived experiences than me. I recognize that my ideas, programs, and initiatives are influenced by my experiences. It is my job to learn from others, mobilize resources in this space, and remain mindful of my perspectives, choices, and actions. I pledge to step back when necessary, actively listen to others’ perspectives, needs, wants, joys, and sorrows, accept feedback openly and gratefully, and move in a direction that values and upholds the highest standards for all people and all identities. Finally, when I misstep and when I fail, I pledge to learn and to do better.