5 tips for making your tri club more inclusive and affirming
by Kyla Lupo | Team Go Big
It’s Pride Month, the time of year when we draw our attention to the LGBTQIA+ community. But Pride isn’t something that should be only one month out of the year — Committing to welcoming all folks into your triathlon club should be a year-round effort.
At Team Go Big I built my club on the foundation of radical inclusivity. Here are my five tips for making your team inclusive and affirming for all folks.
1. Identify your pronouns. It’s such a simple thing. Every form I fill out, every name tag I write, and every Zoom call I’m in, I identify my pronouns (she/her). It’s a low-stress and easy way to let folks know you are a safe person. On any form, you ask a new member to fill out, ask them for their pronouns. (And it’s not ‘preferred pronouns,’ it’s just ‘pronouns').
2. Use gender-neutral, non-heteronormative language. Stop saying ‘guys,’ and start saying ‘y’all, folks, humans, runners, cyclists, swimmers, merfolk.' Unless you are 100% certain every single person you’re speaking to is of the same gender, use gender-neutral terms. Use ‘spouse’ instead of husband/wife. Use ‘parent’ instead of mom/dad. Reinforce folks’ humanity by using terms that don’t put them in a box.
3. Put a statement on your club website. Another easy way to let folks know you are a safe place — say so on your website. On Team Go Big’s website, we use the following (which you are welcome to borrow and tailor for your own sentiments):
Team Go Big stands for a radical level of body inclusivity.
We support the right of all people to participate in sport no matter who they are.
We respect your pronouns and your journey.
We dismantle diet culture everywhere we can.
We believe Black Lives Matter.
We believe Love is Love.
We actively stand against hate, bigotry, and systemic prejudice.
You are welcome here. You are safe here. You are respected here.
And don’t be afraid to put a Pride flag or icon somewhere on your website. Again, Pride is something we need to bring to the entire year, not just June.
4. Take the USA Triathlon Together, We Thrive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access course. It’s 100% free and available to all USA Triathlon coaches, clubs, race directors, and everyone!
USA Triathlon strives to create an inclusive environment throughout the multiport community. The organization's Together, We Thrive Certification Program is a collection of free diversity, equity, inclusion, and access education courses available for all members of the multisport community who wish to foster positive change in their communities.
5. Cultivate a community of resources. If a non-binary athlete joined your team today, would you know where to go to get answers about how they register for a race? What if a paratriathlete needed to find a guide? What about someone who needs race-day clothing guidance for modesty reasons? As coaches and club leaders, we aren’t expected to know everything. And we can be welcoming for all athletes if we know where to go to get these answers. Take the time to find your supportive community so that you can be your best for any athlete that comes to you.
Bonus Tip! Be a good person. Strive to treat every other person with the same level of respect and dignity you would want to be treated with.
When it comes down to it, it’s not hard to be an affirming and inclusive triathlon club. The tips above are a great way to let folks know that your team is a safe place for everyone to be their true selves. And the world needs more of those places right now.
USA Triathlon's commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access
For more information about USA Triathlon’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, or to inquire about becoming involved with USA Triathlon’s efforts, visit USA Triathlon's website or email email@example.com.
About Team Go Big
Led by USA Triathlon Certified Coach Kyla Lupo, Team Go Big advocates for body acceptance in sport and society. Team Go Big is a community where all bodies can feel welcome and supported.