The Fear Amongst Us
What are these fears?
- Rejection by your teammates
- Discrimination by your school, club, or coach
- Retribution towards your place on the roster, to your gear, your house, your boat
- Isolation from your ‘friends’
- Judgement of you as a person because you are publicly part of the LGBTQ community
- Abandonment by your family
- Despisement of your orientation
- Resentment towards a perceived desire for special treatment
All of these issues are still a part of the LGBTQ rowing community. The shooting at the Club Q in Colorado Springs at midnight on November 19th reaches inside the soul of every LGBTQ person in the United States and draws out these fears.
Certainly, one or many could say this was the work and action of a lone, crazed person. This is not how you, your club, and your boat feel but the threat is still very real. This shooting puts us all on edge, forcing us to look around at strangers and teammates, wondering what they are thinking about you and the LGBTQ community.
There has been an outpouring of support on social media towards the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs. Those messages are comforting but don’t have a significant meaning to the rowers in your rowing program or your rowing club.
We call on every rowing club and rowing program at every level in the United States to show your support for your LGBTQ rowers with a meaningful gesture and message of acceptance. Display a rainbow flag, and it doesn’t matter if it has five or 8 colors. It’s the message, and along with it, send out an email to everyone in the club or program that declares the importance of the action: that LGBTQ rowers are welcome and accepted and respected. Just display the flag for three days or whatever time you feel is warranted but make sure the message goes out to the members. It sets an example for your club or program and it sends a profound message. We urge you to do this now, in the next few hours and days, while the hurt, the fear, and the doubt lingers within our minds.
If your club or program feels that displaying a flag falls flat, consider putting on a group row where everyone wears a type of rainbow clothing and when we say everyone, it will have a lot more meaning if the straight members do it than the LGBTQ rowers.
Finally, there could not be a more profound and lasting message of acceptance than if individual members of your rowing club or program sign the Rower’s Pledge. The pledge signatures are counted and displayed in total for a given rowing club or program. That has meaning.
If you haven't done so already, order a free Rower's Pledge sticker to display on your locker, your office door, or in your boathouse.