Home' LOTL : November 2004 Contents PROFILE17
Which organisation is
the gay and lesbian
community's oldest? No -- it's
not Mardi Gras. It's Fit X
Gym, which began life as
Fitness Exchange in 1977,
and has been a gay-run, non
profit organisation ever
since. Fit X Gym is currently
seeking new members --
Belonging to Fit X Gym
has many benefits. For a start,
it's cheap, with a ten-visit pass
costing $20 and casual visits
$2.50. Annual memberships
are $300 waged, $210
"There are plenty of
working poor, community
sector lesbians who can't
afford commercial gyms
charging $600 or $1000 a
year. I would like to see them
come here. You can get as
many programs and assessments as you want for free," says
Ingrid Cullen (pictured), current president of Fit X and
accredited personal trainer with twenty years experience in the
fitness industry. Ingrid has coached everyone from para-
Olympians to elite athletes, HIV people and those just wanting
a manageable fitness regimen. "Finding the formula that works
for each person is what motivates me."
Ingrid believes only around 5 per cent of regular Fit X Gym
clients are lesbians. "I would like more of my energy to go
towards women. There are many lesbians out there who think
they're a healthy size and they're not. 'Big girls' who need to be
careful of developing illnesses such as type 1 diabetes."
She also welcomes bisexual, transgender and HIV women.
Ingrid won a World AIDS Day award in 2003.
"Ideally, I would like to see as many women using Fit X
Gym as their fitness resource as there are women involved in our
community organisations -- that's around 40 per cent. If enough
are interested it will be possible to have women only timeslots."
PHOTO BILL GREEN
PHOTO TOM FAIRWEATHER
She has a natural ability to engage with you heart to heart. As
she reflects on her life and music career she comments, "I knew
all this was going to happen. I visualised my life when I was about
seven. I knew I was going to sing. As far as my mum was
concerned, it was okay."
Her parents migrated from Jamaica to America and Marcia
was born in Boston where she grew up with her brother. When
she was a few months old her father died leaving her mother
Esme as sole breadwinner. Marcia started singing when she was
five years old and made her debut at a church when she was nine.
"Everybody talked about music where I came from," Marcia
recalls. The world of gospel music dominated her childhood
creating the backbone for her love of music and creativity. Her
Baptist godmother who sang in a church choir would drag the
young Marcia to rehearsals and church and she used to love it.
"She had an ivory upright piano and would sit and play talking
to me about life. I was ... 7, 6 maybe. I spent every New Year's
Eve with her, watching the party in Times Square on television,
and she'd give me a little glass of Jamaican rum. I did that until
I left Boston for Sydney."
At fourteen Marcia won a scholarship to the New England
Conser vatorium of Music but her free spirit couldn't be
contained within the strictures of this traditional institution. She
left after three months and began to front R&B groups while
continuing to perform at her local church. While in her teens
Marcia experienced the whole spectrum of the 1960's sexual
revolution, taking part in Woodstock, free love and LSD.
Her latest album, Hinesight -- Songs From the Journey, "has
been a journey of highs -- having nothing low to report on.
Singing is my escape, my friend, my teacher, my way of saying I
love and appreciate every person who has touched my life in any
way." The diverse song choices are given a fresh sound and
spiritual depth. The making of Hinesight was "so heartfelt and it's
the most involved album I've ever done in my life."
When Marcia isn't judging, performing, recording,
gardening, or doing her mosaic she is joining the campaign
against AIDS. Last year, the global AIDS pandemic claimed an
estimated three million lives, and an estimated five million people
acquired HIV, bringing the estimated number of women, men
and children living with the virus worldwide to 40 million.
This year, Marcia has lent her face to ACON's World AIDS
Day campaign. When asked about her involvement in the
community, her celebrity status and how that impacts on charity
causes, Marcia remains modest. She sees herself as another
individual taking responsibility to better their environment.
Marcia sees AIDS as an issue affecting every sector of our society.
She has also been deeply affected by this disease, caring for and
losing many friends with AIDS. For Marcia, educating the
general public about AIDS is a significant strategy in reducing the
risk of the disease.
Hinesight is available in record stores now.
World AIDS Day is on December 1.
Fit X Gym, 9 Commonwealth Street Surry Hills, Mon--Fri
4.30pm--7.30pm. For membership call (02) 9206 2000.
To express your interest in women only sessions call Ingrid
on 0400 712 964.
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Queer As Folk La Repetition Ellen Live Ellen TV Series Six Feet Under
The L Word Bar Girls Bad Girls Series 1 to 5 Better than Chocolate
Bound But I'm a Cheerleader If These Walls 2 ... and many more!
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