At Tonal, we are proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community. Pablo Schmidt Escobar, a Tonal coach and advocate, sat down with us to talk about how strength has helped him in his personal journey and the importance of celebrating gay pride all year long.
What does strength mean to you?
Strength to me is beyond the physical. It’s the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even social ability to withstand and endure anything. It means having the fortitude to push forward, the ability to remain grounded in challenging situations, whether in core stability or a sense of identity.
What does strength enable you to do?
Ultimately, strength has enabled me to overcome a lot, to push through times of discomfort, and to learn through what I have experienced. It has given me the confidence to be myself, to feel safe in a world that is not always kind, and has enabled me to allow myself to grow and develop into someone I can rely on.
How has strength training helped you become the strongest version of yourself?
When I was 21, I was attacked with my boyfriend by a car full of men for being gay. They broke my boyfriend’s nose and tried to run me over with their car.
That night changed everything for me. I began to focus on strength training to defend myself and to end the feeling of being scared. Strength training gave me a sense of security, a sense of courage—for that, I am happy.
What is the most important thing you want LGBTQ+ people and allies to know?
We are more than a community—we are a culture—and there is a strength in our shared history, shared values, customs, and achievements. Let us always celebrate the strength of those who came before us, the fabulous human beings who have paved the way for what we have today.
We cannot forget the sacrifices that have been made so that we can live, love, and move through the world the way we do: the strength of queer people of color who have created our lexicon, the dandies of the past who have allowed us to play with gender expression, and the trans men and women who taught us that sex and gender are two distinct things.
Through their strength and bravery, they all have created the history and culture that bonds us together. We may be doing better than before, but there will always be more work to be done. Being strong, both physically but also mentally and emotionally, helps us continue this fight every day.