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Support inclusion and acceptance in rowing

Already, 59 members of the broader rowing community from 6 countries have made the pledge!

Join us in creating a movement of inclusion and acceptance in the worldwide rowing community.


To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream.

In the rowing community, many gays and lesbians feel compelled to cover their lives, for fear of being cut from a national team boat, for fear of losing their coaching jobs, for fear of not being invited to row at university. There is an unspoken but keenly felt pressure that gays and lesbians can't hold hands or display commonly accepted public displays of affection at regattas.

Tolerance is the promotion of covering through the acknowledgement that others know you are gay or lesbian but prefer or demand that you "tone down" or refrain from behavior that is considered by some individuals to be inappropriate, unseemly, or not in keeping with a certain image or reputation.

Inclusion and acceptance is the act of embracing gays and lesbians in an open manner to be themselves, to talk about their lives, and conduct themselves just like any straight member of the broader rowing community can do right now at practice, among their teammates, and at regattas. The leaders in the broader rowing community need to stand up for inclusion and acceptance, be they fellow rowers, captains of the rowing team, junior booster club parents, coaches at university programmes, athletic directors in charge of those university coaches, rowing club officers, and national team officials.


I advocate for the inclusion and acceptance [beyond tolerance] of gay and lesbian rowers, coxies, coaches, and race officials in the broader rowing community. Rowers and coxies need to feel comfortable being out and open to their teammates and their coaches without fear of ridicule, bullying, reprisal, and discrimination. Coaches need to feel free to work without fear of prejudice or dismissal from parents, club officials, alumni, or athletic directors. Race and regatta officials should be able to serve openly, without fear of judgement and restricted selection for committees and race juries.
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