2 min

Sporting for Raymond Taavel

Jennifer Crawford seeks to honour gay activist through sport

Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program based on varied, high-intensity movements.
One month after Raymond Taavel’s violent murder in Halifax, displaced East Coaster Jennifer Crawford will honour him through sport.
She’s created a Crossfit Workout of the Day in his name for May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Participants will donate a minimum of $10 to Halifax’s queer youth support organization, the Youth Project, before they do the workout. Participants from across the country will then compete, to see who can do it the fastest. It’s a series of five rounds of five different moves, which pay homage to “his determination, tenacity, patience, compassion and heart,” the website notes.
“When shit like this happens, I think we all feel an overwhelming compulsion of ‘Oh my god, I have to do something,’” Crawford says. “Whenever I feel grief like that, I tend to work it out through the body.”
Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program based on varied high-intensity movements. It takes a competitive edge, too: the annual Crossfit Games started in 2007. Athletes compete to finish a workout in the shortest time.
For Crawford, it was the perfect activity with which to pay homage to Taavel. “There’s so much heart in Crossfit,” she says. “I have been receiving emails from [people] across North America telling me how stoked they are.”
Because Crossfit is so new to many, Crawford’s also hopeful the sport can be used to fight other battles, including being on the forefront of discussions around trans inclusivity. Crossfit “still has the time and space to carve out something new, and I think better, than simply M or F,” she says. “We want to get that conversation going on a national level. We want other sports to have to think about it, too.”
Crossfit Toronto and Primal Athletes were the first supporters of the event, but it’s taken off: the workout will be an honor-system competition run at gyms in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. “You can do the workout wherever and whenever on the 17th that you want,” Crawford says, noting she’s had people sign up from as far away as Mississippi. “I don’t care if you do it in your garage, if you have the equipment.”

After making a donation to the Halifax Youth Project and doing the workout, participants will email their name, location and results before midnight on May 17. Results will be posted to before noon on May 18. $100 gift certificates for Primal Athletes will be given as prizes in three self-identified nationwide categories: trans, female and male. Other prizes include travel vouchers, gift certificates to Rowe Farms, massage therapy and more.