A team of diverse people, united in their goal for a 'Sound Mind, Sound Body', our FrontRunner Team are ambassadors for change. We speak to Cailin Whyte - one of our ASICS SA FrontRunner Team members, who shares her experiences of being part of the LGBT+ community.

Cailin Whyte

Trail running lover from sunny Johannesburg

Let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Cailin from sunny South Africa, Johannesburg. I am a sports coordinator at a high school in South Africa and am a running lover. After playing soccer for a large portion of my life I fully embraced the running world, especially trail running.

How do you identify yourself?

I prefer to identify as a gay woman rather than through the term lesbian and my pronouns are she / her. I was raised by two moms as well, so I’ve always been surrounded with an inclusive environment my whole life. When I grew up, I found it a bit difficult to identify my sexuality. I didn't know exactly what it was that I wanted to be. I fall in love with the person as opposed to a gender. I've been in a relationship for five years now and I'm sohappy. Since it’s always been normal for me I don’t think about how I identify too much.

What role does community play for you in your life?

The community around me has always been supportive. I have a fantastic family and the people around me are so important. They have beenstages in my life where people have been a bit judgmental, which has been difficult to go through. But as you get older you get to see which people are important to you and focus on keeping those positive people around you.

Through running I've met some fantastic people that are just so positive and so inclusive of everyone and understanding. I have a very diversec ommunity around me with different backgrounds and different sexual preferences and I think that's so important to have this positive community around you. Not everyone might understand your way of life, but that’s okay because it doesn't mean you have to keep those people in your life.

How do you recognize Pride?

I do participate in the events and parades sometimes, because it is always such a happy atmosphere. However, for me it most important to be kind and listen to people around you all year around, not just in June. I embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly, as I work with kids at school that are going through different stages of their life that they don't know what they want. I have a child at the moment that's going through transitioning from one gender to next and it is so important to listen, be understanding and kind. It does so much for your well-being.

Did you experience challenges as a gay woman and how did you overcome them?

I'm very lucky because I actually haven't faces and large challenges, because I’ve grown up in such an inclusive, sheltered environment. I've been around that my whole life and am very proud of my partner. The only thing more difficult to explain when I was younger was having two moms, as parents of my friends were not so understanding. Whereas today’s society and upcoming generation are far more understanding. I look up to my moms, because they had to face more challenges and had to fight for the inclusiveness that I can live in today.

How can people build on their knowledge around the LGBTQIA+ community?

I think the best thing to do is listen and really try to understand the other side, what they are going through and how they feel. If you have questions you’d like to ask, ask with the intent that you are really going to listen and do not lecture anyone on their way of life. Just be kind and try to understand. Also, surround yourself with positive people that will help you grow.