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2022 Rainbow Logo Challenge


GLRF ad in Rowing News magazine, issue 4
The Challenge

The 2022 Rainbow Logo Challenge is a month-long community celebration of the global LGBTQ+ community.  Sponsored by the Gay + Lesbian Rowing Federation (GLRF), the Challenge is an opportunity for rowing clubs, programmes, governing bodies, and related businesses to openly show their support for LGBTQ+ rowers, coaches, staff, and volunteers by incorporating rainbow colors in their social media and website logos.

The Challenge runs for the entire month of June so organizations can jump onboard at any time during the month.

The Impact

June is Pride month around the world, a time when the LGBTQ+ community celebrates their diversity and affirms their pride in who they are.  When an organization displays a rainbow flag or rainbow symbol such as a logo, it is sending a message of inclusion and acceptance.  For someone in the LGBTQ+ community, seeing a rainbow flag or image with rainbow colors instantly conveys a feeling of reassurance that they are welcome in that place of business or that organization.

The Challenge is important because of the impact social media has on the rowing community.  Every social view, be it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a blog, or a website, that  showcases a rainbow infused logo, tells the site visitor that the organization values and supports the LGBTQ+ community.  

The Cultural Value

The importance of the Challenge reaches far beyond its impact during June pride month.  The display of a rainbow logo during Pride month sends a message that LGBTQ+ members are  warmly welcome throughout the year in a team, programme, club, or organization, and that their careers and their race seats are not in jeopardy if they reveal their orientation at some point in the future.

Displaying a rainbow logo can reassure someone in the rowing community who is reticent about sharing this big part of their private lives publicly and that they can feel comfortable in doing so.  The logo also sends a broader organizational message to everyone in the club or programme that warmly welcoming the LGBTQ+ community is an important cultural value.

The Origins

The history of the Rainbow Logo Challenge dates to the June 2019 USRowing Junior National Championships at Nathan Benderson Park, in Florida - United States.  On Thursday, 06 June 2019, the then USRowing Executive Director Patrick McNerney walked over to the Gay + Lesbian Rowing Federation booth to learn more about The Rower’s Pledge.  While talking with GLRF Executive Director Brian Todd, Patrick asked how USRowing could do more to support the LGBTQ+ community.  The reply was instantaneous: change your logo to a rainbow logo for June Pride month.  Patrick was momentarily stunned and incredulous: “Really? That’s important?  Brian’s reply was quick: “oh yeah, you have no idea how important that is to the community.”   Whereupon Patrick turned to his communication staff and directed them to change the USRowing logo by 5 pm that day.  It was done by 2 pm.

After that stunning sudden change by USRowing, the idea of a Rainbow Logo Challenge emerged.  GLRF issued the first Rainbow Logo Challenge on 11 June 2019. The challenge went out by Twitter and Facebook posts but it got little notice.  A few organization’s jumped onboard (JL Racing for one).  GLRF called Rowing Canada to give them a heads up in case their members might be calling in.  Their logo went up a few days later and it was spectacular. The logo challenge stayed dormant in 2020 and 2021 as the restrictions and challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic shut down most of the rowing community.

How To Participate

The crux of the Rainbow Logo Challenge is to change your organization logo to incorporate several if not all of the LGBTQ+ rainbow colors (started as 8 then commonly displayed as 6 and now 8 again).  A big part of the Challenge is to feature the rainbow logo on all of an organization’s social media feeds as well as it’s website.  It is understood that some websites can’t instantly or easily change their logo, like a social media feed, because of how the website logo is coded into the header.  The workaround for that is to feature a rainbow image on the home page.  The final part of the challenge is to display the rainbow logos for the entire month of June.

Is there an award for the challenge, gold, silver, or bronze, since the rowing community is so ultra-competitive? No.  This is a self-challenge.  Beyond the logos, perhaps some organizations may find inventive ways to celebrate and highlight LGBTQ+ visibility, diversity, and inclusiveness.  Share those displays or events or gestures with GLRF and we will mention those, and of course, we will be eager to see each and every rainbow logo you send to: rowing@glrf.info.  We also have a Rainbow Logo Challenge on Tumblr - see link in green announcement banner at top of the page.