Arts & Culture

For years, LGBTQ people in the South have just had the gay bar. He wanted to change that.

Hey, y’all.

This is Justin Mitchell, a growth and social media editor at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi — and this is “Out Here in America,” a podcast by the Sun Herald and McClatchy that explores what it’s like being LGBTQ in the Deep South and in other rural areas across the country.

We post new episodes every other week — you can subscribe to “Out Here in America” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite shows.

This week, we’re in Metairie, Louisiana, with Dillon King, a CrossFit fanatic on a mission.

Two years ago, King and his wife, Missy, opened their own gym, Flambeaux CrossFit, near New Orleans — because if you think people might judge you for doing CrossFit, try being transgender, like King, in the Deep South.

King’s transition in 2014 revealed his true self. And it’s allowed King the opportunity to help other trans people — as well as others in the LGBTQ community and straight people, too — achieve their fitness goals.

King noticed a lot of LGBTQ people in New Orleans were overweight.

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Dillon King works out at his CrossFit gym, Flambeaux CrossFit, on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Metairie, A large reason that King and his wife, Missy, decided to open gym was to provide a safe space for LGBTQ people to work out and stay healthy. Amanda McCoy

“It seemed that most of our get-togethers were at clubs, nightclubs, going out, staying up late, drinking always,” King said after coaching a morning WOD (workout of the day) at his quaint “box” just off the Causeway.

For most gay people, the bar was the only place for community, but that could lead to an unhealthy lifestyles if those are the only places for LGBTQ people to be free, King said.

I went to King’s gym to get in the WOD — and to hear about doing what he loves, the community’s embrace of his gym, and creating the kind of world he wants to leave for his 1-year-old son, Lennox.

Here’s where you can listen to more episodes of “Out Here in America.”