With 7,125 square kilometres of city on our doorstep, there is absolutely no excuse to be bored; gays are no longer restricted to just a few blocks of entertainment. As animated as the Village can be, boozing it while checking out the hottie across the room night after night can lose its appeal. To shake things up, roving reporter Eduardo Sabate talks with Jeremy Foreshew — health enthusiast, fitness trainer, urban adventure seeker and managing director of GET Out Canada — about the queer community’s newest fun-inspired organization.
What is GET Out all about?
The acronym GET, or Go Explore Together, is just that. We want people to come together and explore the city that’s available to us. The majority of our programs are centred on Toronto’s urban core. We have all these beautiful hiking hills, trails and parks. I am not a person who gets a nosebleed moving north of Bloor, so I see Toronto’s urban core as a much larger space. We’re also trying to break down that barrier of access, the “I don’t know where to go and I don’t have anyone to go with” excuse.
How are you different from other queer sports clubs?
There is quite a commitment to be able to join them. What we found is that there are lots of people who enjoy playing sports but don’t necessarily have the flexibility or the capacity to play the same time every weekend. Some people aren’t as competitive or sports-centric. They still want to get out and enjoy recreation and leisure but not to that level of intensity.
One of the things we want to do, as well, is partner with programs. To introduce people who may not be as comfortable going to other organizations and help facilitate that movement for them. We’re not only catering to sports-related stuff. In our calendar coming up, we have things like how-tos and cooking classes. We’re also trying things like putting teams together to do activities like the AIDS Walk and the Pride and Remembrance Run and making our mark in the community from a fundraising standpoint. We want to encourage people to give back to the community.
What if you’re shy?
Our events are generally from four to 15 people, so it’s not terribly intimidating. We’ve had people who didn’t know anybody in the group and who were new to the city. Everybody left feeling like they did something cool and new but had also met a new group of people. Come try it and see how it goes. Worse comes to worst, you can always hang out with me and go from there.
What might you say to the many who feel they’re not fit enough to join the activities, or are hesitant to wear shorts, with their pale skinny legs, in public?
Wear pants [chuckles]. In our running group, we have a gentleman who ran his first five-K with us. He’d never run five kilometres before. He was very impressed with himself, with the support of people running alongside him, and he looks forward to running with us again. Many people have become gym-focused. There’s physical fitness from a body-sculpting appeal, and then there’s fitness in terms of how you feel, what your abilities and capabilities are. We try to cater to the latter. We’re not here to get you a ripped muscular body or to get you laid. We’re here to get you to enjoy yourself, feel better, live better and enjoy your day. It gives you a really positive, feel-good story when people ask, “What did you do this weekend?” and you can say, “I went to paintball with this group of people.” We’re trying to get people to tell great stories on Mondays and carry it through the week.
: What happens if there’s crappy weather or when it’s just too cold outside?
We find indoor places that simulate the outdoors so that you can practise, train or learn new skills before the season comes in. Or just find a very cool indoor space that you had no idea existed. As soon as the weather is ready to cooperate, we go outside. We have a lot of indoor activities while we go through those awkward spring months, such as indoor beach volleyball, paintball and a golf skills clinic.
Anything you’re super excited about on the GET Outside calendar?
We have a bus and tickets to go and see Kathy Griffin at Casino Rama on July 20. What’s more fun than 50 gays having a great old time on a bus to see sassy Kathy?
Eduardo Sabate is a relatively sporty bloke who has very little trouble GETting out.