The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast
265: Teach LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Yoga with Gabi Parkham
We all want our yoga classes to be welcoming places for everybody, but sometimes, we unintentionally make some people feel excluded or unwelcome. One of those groups of people is the LGBTQIA+ community. Gabi Parkham shares how we can teach LGBTQIA+ inclusive yoga and create safer yoga spaces.
Gabi was born in Brighton (UK) and started practicing yoga during early childhood. She is passionate about finding equity and justice through yoga, consent in all aspects, and sharing yoga free from assumptions. Alongside teaching yoga, Gabi is an LGBTQIA+ equity educator and consultant helping yoga teachers and studios to make their classes more welcoming for the LGBTQIA+ community. Gabi runs regular online workshops about LGBTQIA+ "inclusion" and a 6 month online course for LGBTQIA+ yoga teachers to come together in community, learn from one another, and support each other. Gabi also co-founded Laviot, a social and supportive community LGBT+ Jewish non-binary people and women.
In this interview, Gabi explains what LGBTQIA+ means, the importance of sharing pronouns, and why creating spaces for this community is important. Gabi shares more about why it’s so important to get educated, then teach like there is a trans or non-binary person in your class all the time, and how to include that in marketing your classes. This is all part of a lifelong learning journey, and the work is always ongoing. Learn more about how to start creating safer, braver, and more inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ folks in your yoga class in this episode.
[3:15] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Gabi Parkham.
[7:28] Shannon gives a shout out to OfferingTree.
[12:43] Gabi introduces herself and gives her social location.
[15:22] What does Gabi do and who does she do it for?
[19:16] Why is it important for yoga teachers to have LGBTQIA+ awareness?
[23:30] How does Gabi handle conversations about setting limits on offerings dedicated to LGBTQIA+ people?
[25:02] What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?
[27:07] Gabi isn't too keen on this wording. She explains why.
[28:29] How can we center the voices and experiences of people who have historically been marginalized?
[30:35] Shannon and Gabi explore what the world could be like if cisgender and/or heterosexual people took the time to explore their own gender and sexual identity and expression.
[33:40] What are Gabi's thoughts on pronouns?
[38:23] How can yoga teachers make it evident that they've been doing the work to learn about creating safer spaces for people in the LGBTQIA+ community?
[43:18] Gabi shares some examples of language that we can use and some steps we can take to make spaces more welcoming.
[49:15] Gabi and Shannon discuss a little about the use of masculine and feminine in the yoga setting, and why it's so important to be clear about what we mean with certain words we use.
[54:21] Gabi shares some final thoughts around creating braver and safer yoga spaces.
[57:01] Where can yoga teachers learn more from Gabi or other resources?
[60:44] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from this interview.
Gratitude to our Sponsor, OfferingTree.
Quotes from this episode:
"We want our classes to be welcoming and inclusive and as safe as possible."
"What I really would rather do is shift the focus and center the marginalized voices center the people who have been historically marginalized and minority sized"
"Learning about other people's experiences is a great place to start."
"Start teaching your class as if there is always a queer person, a trans person, a non-binary person in the room"
"Again, it's not easy, it's really hard to change this language and it takes practice and time and you will mess up and that's okay."
"Just because that's their intention doesn't mean that people inherently feel safe coming in."