“Inclusivity and Equality should be at the Heart of Boating”

In support of creating an inclusive and welcoming sport, the Royal Yachting Association has announced it will be launching a community network for boaters identifying as LGBTQIA+. 

The RYA has launched the LGBTQIA+ Network, which aims to make equality and inclusion for those that identify as LGBTQIA+ a reality in the sport, reaching not just the RYA membership, but also stretching across to RYA affiliates and the wider boating community.

The group is open to anyone who is an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community or identifies as part of LGBTQIA+ who is interested in the sport and actively supports the RYA’s ambition for a diverse and welcoming culture.

The Network has been launched during LGBTQ+ History Month, an annual event held to celebrate and reflect on historic milestone events and the people who contributed to them from the LGBTQ+ community. For the first time, this year the RYA has visualised its support for the LGBTQ+ community by swapping the traditional RYA blue, red, and white logo for the rainbow flag across its main social media channels. The organisation will also be using their social media channels across the month to highlight the importance of being a welcoming and inclusive sport.

The announcement follows the publishing of the RYA Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity Strategy, which was launched last year. The Strategy outlines the RYA’s plan to develop a sports culture that celebrates diversity and is free from discrimination and prejudice.

Mel Hide, RYA director of external affairs, said: “Inclusivity and equality should be at the heart of boating, we believe creating a welcoming and sustainable sport for all to join regardless of their romantic and sexual orientation, sex characteristic or gender, is vital. The group’s aim will be to raise the profile of boating amongst the LGBTQIA+ community and to have a positive influence on the strategic direction and communications at the RYA.

“Launching the Network is another milestone in the RYA’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity Strategy, and we encourage anyone that wishes to get involved with building a culture of inclusivity to join the LGBTQIA+ Network.”

To find out more about the RYA’s LGBTQIA+ Network, or to join, visit the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion hub page on the RYA website and complete the online expression of interest form, or email: equality@rya.org.uk.

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