"Progress creates possibility".
Meet Angel Joy Flores (she/her).. aka Arkangel.
Flores is a trans-athlete from Texas, and just like so many others, her journey to find her identity is completely unique. For Flores, it's been a long journey - one that included an emotional feature in season 6 of Netflix's hit show Queer Eye - but suffice to say that over the years, she's grown in stature and strength. Angel Flores has become a figure of power, of progress.
Discover more about our latest campaign: Pride In Progress.
As well as being passionate about hard work, Angel is an advocate for accessible sport - highlighting the importance of safe spaces for everyone to be able to participate, because “sport is a human right”. She’s proof that bringing your passion and chasing excellence every day gets results.
Angel now trains in and out of Liberation Barbell Club, a queer-friendly gym that have created a truly united conditioning community. They don’t all train the same, but they all train together, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?
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BEHIND THE SCENES
Scroll through the gallery as we take you behind the scenes of our latest campaign. Meet the talented Creatives who helped us bring Angel's story to life, the community who not only support, but spot Flores every lift, every day. And finally, Liberation Barbell Club, a fitness space that allowed Angel to be her true self.
Location: Liberation Barbell Club.
There's more to explore. Delve deeper into Angel's journey with an exclusive interview, and discover why she is the epitome of what this campaign stands for...
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Tell us a little more about Liberation Barbell Club. What makes it so special?
"It's the people and community we've managed to build.
"I joined Liberation Barbell Club in late 2020. I was one week into my hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), and I'd emailed the gym saying, 'Hi, I'm a trans-woman, fresh on hormones, and I'm a coach. Would this be a place that I could possibly make a home and coach at?'."
Moments later, Flores had a response, or as she calls it, "a moment of acceptance."
"Come in this weekend. I want to meet you." - Liberation Barbell Club.
"It was revolutionary. It was everything. And now I get to do that for so many people, day in, day out. I get to sit there and watch these amazing faces walk into the gym and ask, 'what is this place? Is this a safe place for me?'.
"The amount of trans people that have walked into this gym and automatically smiled is astonishing. When you see a trans smile, it's unmistakable. It's so huge. It's glowing. And when I see a trans smile at Liberation Barbell Club, it lights my life up because I know that we've built this amazing community and inclusive space for anybody to be their authentic selves - allowing them to train how they feel comfortable training.
"I honestly wouldn't feel a quarter as comfortable at any other gym as I do at Liberation Barbell Club. Even if I move away, even if I go on some crazy journey someday, I know I will be able to come back. It's going to be just like home."
What is your mission?
"To remind the world that sport is a human right."
Sport teaches us everything we need to know to be human. It shows us that we can train to achieve. It shows humility, power, and dedication.
"There's research that shows that testosterone drives athletic ability. I find that interesting because when you take a step back and look at what truly provides strength, endurance, and skill to become an athlete, it's not hormones... it's time. It's the amount of time and hard work you've put into your goal.
"I love reminding people of that."
What would you want to say to anyone who feels like they are struggling with their identity?
"It all comes down to the small steps. They're the most important. In fact, they're everything.
"Nothing is stopping you. There are no limits here. Nobody is telling you that you "can't" except yourself when it comes to your identity. If you have questions, ask them, answer them, or seek out the answers.
"By doing as much as you can, by doing everything you want to do, you'll find that one thing that you're brilliant at. You'll find your anchor.
"Soon, you're going to look back and say 'wow, look at all these amazing things that I've done, and look at the person I now am'. Every small step continues the journey."
How do you want the world to look for future generations?
"Soon there's going to be trans people that don't even have a second thought about playing sports, about competing, about existing in a competition space. That's limitless."
And finally, what does progress mean to you?
"Acknowledging my progress is acknowledging that there's more.
"Even if even if it's the simplest thing, if I go to the gym and do a warm-up/stretch routine, that's progress. Progress becomes possibility - I've progressed myself to a point where I know new things and I've learned new skills, and now there's more possibilities for my future.
"Transitioning, for me, is also progress and every inch of that progress I've made over the last two and a half years has just introduced me to more and more possibilities and more and more opportunity for my future.
"Every single moment that I acknowledge my progress, I acknowledge that I have so much further to go. And that's so freeing."
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UNITED BY JOURNEY.
It's not our goals that unite us, but the things we do to achieve them. So, although our training grounds, our end goals and the way we love may differ, sweat is our sport, and hard work is our game plan. Gymshark, it's about belonging.
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OUR COMMITMENT TO PROGRESS
This month, we wanted to support our LGBTQ+ community and show them that we see them and celebrate their wins. But we know that it is not enough. We know that the fight is not over because too many of them do not feel seen or safe yet. Making progress by making conditioning safer & more inclusive for everyone is where we can make a difference.
So, we commit to playing our part in making this happen, one step at a time, however long it will take. We don't have all the answers, but we know that there still are too many issues. So we commit to pushing ourselves to find ways to achieve progress by showing up for our LGBTQ+ community throughout the year and years ahead
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