City Gym is a place for you

by Colette Pancho

Hailee Bland-Walsh, a self-described “transformation junkie” on a mission to make the fitness industry more inclusive. She is the owner and chief executive of City Gym KC, 7416 Wornall Rd.

“My focus is to create emotionally and physically safe spaces where people can express their best selves, and that ripples through to the community,” she said.

City Gym is located at 7416 Wornall Rd and is LGBTQ owned.

After growing up in the suburbs of Overland Park and Leawood, Bland-Walsh played football at both the collegiate and professional levels. She settled in California, where she felt she could live more freely as a lesbian.

While working at the YMCA in the Central Bay Area, she learned about the importance of non-traditional locker rooms, including unisex bathrooms and private showers. These features ensure privacy for people with disabilities, parents with children of the opposite sex, and transgender people.

In 2010, Brand-Walsh was skeptical when her sister suggested she move home and open a gym. But she quickly discovered just how supportive the region was for the LGBTQ+ community. According to Municipal Equality 2021, Kansas City, Missouri received a perfect score for its legal protection of the LGBTQ+ community.

Hayley Brand-Walsh

Drew Smith, founder of The Union: A Midwest Transguy Coterie, has been to all the “big gyms” and was looking for a more helpful place to work out with his friends who are going from woman to woman. male. He found staunch supporters in Brand Walsh.

Smith co-founded Momentum, a nationally recognized health and fitness program for trans men, helping this underserved population achieve their fitness goals. City Gym KC will offer an eight-week program this fall.

“Members of the trans community are often seen as outliers. Hayley is not a typical ally. She treats us like family,” Smith said.

“We’ve created a place for people whose bodies are outside traditional norms, and it’s not just for the queer community, but for those who don’t feel safe going to the gym,” Bland-Walsh said.

She has deep roots in the Waldo community. In January 2020, she purchased the building where City Gym KC is located from the Millens family, who she said had owned it for nearly 100 years.

Members work out during Lovefest week in February, a member appreciation event.

Stacy Porto was one of the first members of City Gym KC. She is a lawyer, former White House staffer, and currently a real estate agent with Selling KC.

“Haley is positive. She brings all kinds of people together,” Porto said. “I think she should run for office.”

Bland-Walsh is also co-owner of Josh Guffey of Fit Truk, a mobile gym that offers outdoor group strength training workouts. Business partners are marketing the prototype nationwide.

Bland-Walsh makes fitness a family affair. Her wife, Tiffany Spriggs, is a marketing specialist at City Gym KC. She runs regularly with her sister, and she learned how to be an entrepreneur from her mother, Teresa Walsh, co-founder of Silpada Designs, Inc., a women-owned sterling silver jewelry company formerly located in Lenexa.

City Gym KC will celebrate its 11th anniversary in August.they can

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