Diversity & Inclusion

As part of our 2023 – 2026 Strategic Plan – the community identified Participation as one of our Pillars with the underlying goal being everyone has the opportunity to participate in Calisthenics in such a way that matches their preferences and budget. Cali Vic is on a journey to improve our diversity and inclusion and developing Inclusion Action Plans in conjunction with Vicsport. These plans will support the inclusion of gender diverse, LGBTQI+, culturally diverse and all abilities participants. We are looking for members of the calisthenics community to get involved. If you are interested in being involved in one of these groups, please email ceo@calisthenics.asn.au

People with a Disability Working Group

Claire Aldham

My name is Claire. I am profoundly deaf, wear hearing aids and have a long standing involvement as a previous participant for nearly 20 years and volunteered in various aspects for over 15 years. I've been fortunate enough to have had wonderful, supportive coaches when competing & welcomed with open arms by Cali Vic committees and volunteers when I've volunteered at competitions and on other committees. The reason why I joined the group is because I am passionate about working with others to be fully inclusive with education, solutions & advocacy for all people with disabilities. Cali has had a huge impact on my life, and I am excited about working with everyone in the working group to provide input to the incredible Cali Vic community, including clubs, members, audiences, venues & events by bringing the perspective of someone with lived experience of my hearing loss and play a role to make it a truly inclusive organisation and #acreativesportforall. I can't wait to see what we all achieve together.

Leah Anderson

As a young adult with a disability herself and with having been involved as both a coach trainee and performer for over 20 years, and has seen Calisthenics change and evolve over the years. Leah has also competed in pom and jazz through All Star Cheerleading Federation in Victoria, which is where i noticed the diversity and inclusion of performers in wheelchairs and with significant disabilities through the all abilities category at cheerleading competitions and how global that sport has become. Leah noticed the vast differences in inclusion and skills levels between the two sports and from my own experiences within Calisthenics and Cheerleading and my own personal struggles with my disabilities, this has lead me to become more and more passionate about inclusion and support for those with a disability. Leah struggled with the skills exams and solos and noticed the disability recognition at solos and team competitions isn't enough. Leah wants to help Cali Vic change the way people with a disability are included within our great sport and to help make it a fairer sport for all involved. The reason why I joined the group is because I am passionate about working with others to be fully inclusive with education, solutions & advocacy for all people with disabilities. Cali has had a huge impact on my life, and I am excited about working with everyone in the working group to provide input to the incredible Cali Vic community, including clubs, members, audiences, venues & events by bringing the perspective of someone with lived experience of my hearing loss and play a role to make it a truly inclusive organisation and #acreativesportforall. Leah can't wait to see what we all achieve together.

Stories from our Community

Micah

My name is Micah. I am 7 years old. Calisthenics means a lot to me and I want more boys to come to calisthenics. And even if you’re a girl you can come to calisthenics and practice your items. I am a sub-junior and I also do a solo. Why does calisthenics mean a lot to me? Because I build better relationships.

Andrew

I discovered Calisthenics for the first time in 1999 in Canberra when a work colleague told me about an upcoming Calisthenics competition her daughter was in. It was honestly love at first sight. In 2001 I participated in my first ever seniors class. I absolutely loved it, although I remember being extremely uncoordinated and I struggled with the coordination to handle rods and clubs but by the end of the year I was flat in my splits!  In 2001 I did the Grade 1 skills exam and I absolutely loved every moment of it!  I found a local recreational club that supported me through the requirements to get my cadet and level 1 coaching qualifications and became a fully qualified Level 1 coach within just a year. I then moved to Melbourne and found a club that offered recreational classes – St Andrew’s Calisthenics. There I was able to participate in all items with full costumes at the end of year concert. In 2012 I even got to perform my first ever Calisthenics solo performance!  I now participate with Leawarra Rec Masters I have been in Calisthenics for over 13 years, completed my Grade 1, 2, 3 and 4 exams, and performed in 4 different Calisthenics solos. If you had have told me that I would have achieved all this back in 2001 despite the odds of continually pushing up against gender barriers I would not have believed you! Needless to say I am and still remain extremely passionate about the sport and I love to watch competitions as well as volunteer and help out where ever I can. I am extremely grateful to CaliVic for looking to change the rules around males competing in Calisthenics in the near future, not just to be able to compete but so that I can actually finally participate at the level I want and at any club, rather than just being limited to those that offer recreational classes. I am also extremely grateful to every coach I’ve ever had for believing in me and allowing me to participate in this sport I love so much.

Pamela

Our Calisthenics Victoria community includes members from the of 2 through to their 80s! One of our members who participates in our CaliFit product celebrated her 73rd Birthday this year and loves being able to continue to participate in Calisthenics her way after many years of friendship and fitness. Happy Birthday Pamela!

Mia

Mia is a proud Aboriginal community member. Mia encourages other First Nations Community Members to be involved in the amazing sport of Calisthenics. Mia’s mum Rebecca this year opened First Nation’s Calisthenics Club, a club aimed at ensuring First Nation’s children have a culturally safe and happy place to participate in calisthenics. Mia’s graceful solo was a culturally inspired routine about the stolen generation and was a proud moment for her, her mum and the greater community.

Mia and First Nations recently featured in a news story, to read more about their new club and achievements please click here 

 

Jamie

Ever since I was a tiny toddler I loved Calisthenics. I am disabled and found it very challenging but that never stopped me. As a little kid “girl” and “she” never really fit right, but I just figured all little girls felt like that. But then puberty came. And suddenly my body was changing in a way that I hated. And everyone was saying that I would end up with a boy. That last part didn’t seem so bad, but I didn’t understand why my partner had to be a boy. Then I joined high school and I learned about the term bisexual and finally something made sense. I knew I liked girls, but I didn’t want to be one. And then a friend of mine came out to my as non binary and my whole world came crashing down, in the best possible way. For two years I kept my secret, but eventually I told my parents. Home wasn’t really a safe space at that point, but the studio was. After knowing me as a girl and by a different name for 12 years everyone at the studio called me Jamie and they. Thursdays were by far my favourite night of the week. As I only came out part way through 2021 I still had to wear a dress for razza, which was a bit dysphoric but the support of my team helped me get through it. Now in 2023 I wear the same costumes, make up and hair as the cis boy in my team. I know so many people from Sterling who went through the struggle of figuring out that they’re LGBTQIA+ in a cis-het normative world all on their own. Imagine how much easier it would have been for all of us if we’d told each other, to know that we’re not alone. Despite my gender identity and disability Sterling has always been an incredibly inclusive and safe space for me, and it is my home. When school and home were tough Calisthenics was one of the only things that could get me through it. So thank you for having Wear It Purple day, and I hope the next generation of LGBTQIA+ stories are stories of acceptance, love and warmth.

 

Anonymous

My daughter first joined Calisthenics expressly due to the wonderfully inclusive rules about transgender performers. She has always loved to dance. We have seen her bloom from a shy tiny to an extraordinary Intermediate, winning in solo season and embraced by her peers! She is not out to her whole club (only trusted coaches know), so she is entirely free to be loved and celebrated for the human she is and not restricted by others perception of her gender identity! Thank you Calisthenics Victoria. You have given her more than you will ever know…

 

Oscar

‘I started doing calisthenics last year, but I have been watching my older sister do it for a few years. This year I am in the subbies team and I am very lucky that I get to have 1 year of being in the same team as my sister because she can help me learn clubs. My gender is non-binary, and I use they/them pronouns. My favourite thing about calisthenics is definitely the beautiful costumes, especially the aesthetics dresses. I also love when I get to perform on stage. At the beginning of this year we joined the Chelsea calisthenics club and we have made lots of new friends. I love spending time with the team at practice and backstage at comps because we have so much fun together. Everyone at the club has been working really hard to make sure they now use gender-neutral language and that makes me feel good. It has taken some practice because they’ve always called the team “the girls”, but they’re getting much better! I hope that more gender-diverse kids join calisthenics because it’s a great sport.’

 

Anonymous

Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community was always complicated for me growing up, but I’ve been so fortunate enough to have had friends in my team (who I compete with now) who are super supportive of me. They really made me smile this year with a card that referenced me in the community for my birthday. I am so grateful for these people!

Surf Coast Calisthenics All Abilities Program

The performers absolutely love calisthenics and  enjoy the great variety that calisthenics offers as they stretch, learn rods, clubs, marching and basic ballet and dance technique.Classes also include fun games and activities that develop coordination and explore movement, rhythm and self-expression through calisthenics and dance.What brings the most joy to the performers is getting dressed up and performing, and the team have been a highlight at Surf Coast’s end of year concerts.The performers have found their passion for calisthenics and can’t wait for their weekly classes to be active, socialise, and of course have lots of fun!