“We live diversity every day in our studio”
EMS trainer Nils, 40, opened Urban Sports Club partner venue VitaShape in Hamburg’s St. Georg district ten years ago. He’s an active member of the LGBTQ+ community and tells us why diversity and sports go hand in hand for him.
Nils, what significance does Pride have for you and how do you personally experience it?
I think Pride is immensely important, especially when right-wing and ultra-conservative forces are visibly gaining strength. Pride makes us visible as a community. Even in Europe, LGBTQ+ members can’t live freely as they please, as we can see from Hungary’s politics.
How do you contribute to the LGBTQ+ community?
I volunteer in AIDS support which has always been connected to the LGBTQ+ community. Above all, I advocate for reducing inequality, discrimination and stigmatization of people with HIV. Now perceptions surrounding AIDS are changing thanks to the treatability of HIV, so other issues that affect LGBTQ+ issues are now in focus.
How do you promote diversity and equal opportunities in your studio?
I made a conscious decision ten years ago to set up my own EMS studio as a gay man in a part of Hamburg where the gay community is very present. Nevertheless, I don’t want the studio to be perceived purely as a gay EMS studio. My customers are both male and female and of every sexual orientation which illustrates our commitment to diversity and equal opportunities on a daily basis.
Do you see sports as a prime example of diversity in everyday life?
I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to diversity in professional sports. However, things are better in recreational sports. When you play sports together, you get to know and appreciate each other – and discover that we all have tons in common.
What are your hopes for the future in terms of diversity and equal opportunities?
Personally, I’d like to see society’s view of humanity change so that we don’t need Pride Month at all. I’d like for diversity and equal opportunities to be the norm, not something we need to fight for.
Thank you very much for your important words, Nils!