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Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon
Photo by Bobby Winter / Winter Strong Photography

Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon

Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon

Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon

Meet one of the artists, disruptors, educators, groundbreakers, innovators, and storytellers who all helped make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people.

After 10 years of experience as a personal trainer and over 15 years of boxing experience, Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon made history when he opened Strong Hands Gym, which proudly bills itself as the first LGBTQ+ gym in Chicago. A Black gay man who has won over 111 amateur fights and was once nationally ranked 19th, Cevallos-Garzon has created a safe space for people across a spectrum of marginalized identities, including LGBTQ+ people, disabled individuals, and people of color.

“My ultimate goal is to create an environment where everyone who walks into my gym or joins my training sessions leaves with a sense of refreshment and accomplishment after each visit,” says Cevallos-Garzon.

The services provided at Strong Hands Gym include personal training, dieting and nutrition guidance, and bodybuilding. Cevallos-Garzon also provides self-defense courses for his trans clients.

“One of my clients, a 14-year-old transgender youth, has experienced a significant boost in confidence, self-esteem, and a more affirmed sense of identity through my program,” he says.

Cevallos-Garzon hopes to transform Strong Hands Gym into a franchise model that focuses on combat skills for the trans community and LGBTQ+ physical and mental well-being. But for now, he hopes to ensure a delicate balance between masculinity and femininity.

“I aim to bridge the gap within our community, advocating for the harmony between masculinity and femininity,” says Cevallos-Garzon. “It’s essential to recognize that both qualities are valuable, and we should refrain from marginalizing those who embody them. My goal is to promote unity and demonstrate that we are all allies in this endeavor.” @cevallosgarzon88


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