LGBTQIA+ inclusion in sailing and boating FAQs

1. What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer / Questioning and Asexual and covers many other terms such as non-binary and pansexual.

2. What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is the celebration, recognition and acceptance of people who are LGBTQIA+. Throughout the month and the months that follow, many cities across the UK (and the world) host Pride events. This includes a march where many organisations, groups and individuals participate to demonstrate their pride in their sexual orientation and gender identities. These marches are also a way for allies of the LGBTQIA+ community to actively demonstrate their support. 

Pride Month allows us to demonstrate our support, celebrate the work that has taken place across the year, and unite our communities in celebrating inclusion and equality. 

Learn more 

3. What is the LGBTQIA+ Network?

The RYA LGBTQIA+ Network is for anyone interested in collaborating with the RYA to identify barriers to participation for members of the LGBTQIA+ communities. The aim of the network is to help develop strategies and initiatives to break down barriers. Ultimately making boating activities accessible and inclusive for all, regardless of their sexual orientation, sex or gender identity.

We welcome any new members who wish to be involved. To join the network, please email the RYA's Equality Team.  

4. How can I join the RYA in showing my support for the LGBTQIA+ community?

There are many things you can do to show your support for LGBTQIA+ communities across your own networks such as:

  • Create an action plan for your club or centre to increase inclusion and belonging throughout the year ahead.
  • Be bold - if you are an RYA affiliated club or recognised training centre, join us by sharing our social media content to show your support.
  • Be visible - communicate to all staff, volunteers, members and participants and highlight activities, local events, articles, and blogs. Display them in lifts, corridors, notice boards, changing rooms, bars or in windows.
  • Be inquisitive - attend sessions on supporting people who are LGBTQIA+, take the time to research, and share your findings with others. Start a mentoring programme, and task yourself to learn something new every day.
  • Share experiences - write a blog on what Pride means to you, share the lived experiences of others - with permission, of course!

5. How can I be an LGBTQIA+ ally?

“The status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalised group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view.” 

In practice, this means Heterosexual and Cisgendered people working alongside the LGBTQIA+ community to eradicate discrimination, hate, prejudice and bias. 

True allies demonstrate this through listening, making meaningful action and being an active bystander. Ultimately, being an ally is about standing up for the rights of others who might experience barriers to participation, discrimination and oppression. 

Top tips on being an LGBTQIA+ ally

Understand your own privilege

Understanding your own privilege, may allow you to be an active ally to those who experience barriers. 

Listen and educate yourself

Social media platforms are fantastic for learning with many people sharing their stories around the world and connecting with people you normally wouldn’t. Blogs, podcasts, tweets, news articles and stories related to the community can also help to keep you informed on important issues.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable

Sometimes, it can feel uncomfortable when you’re trying to learn new things and that’s ok. Acknowledging your discomfort and accepting it and moving forward can be an incredibly powerful tool to use as an ally. 

Speak up, but not over

The allies’ job is to support. Do this in a way that does not speak over the members of the community, nor take credit for the things they are already saying.

Take feedback and apologise if you make a mistake

It is important to realise that you are going to make mistakes, and to apologise when you do. Nobody is perfect, unlearning problematic things takes time and hard work. If someone calls you out on your mistake, make sure to listen, apologise, and commit to changing your behaviour moving forward.

See something, say something – call it in 

One of the biggest things you can do as an ally is using your voice to stand up and challenge. Allyship means not expecting that a person being bullied or discriminated against will have to stand up for themselves on their own. This action can take on many forms depending on the situation and what you have seen or heard. 

Building a community of allies

Be a role model by spreading the word. Help to educate and encourage others to become an ally. Imagine what life would be like if every person was an ally for one or more group of people with different identities, what a world we would have!

6. Are there any other organisations you can signpost me to for more information?

Pride Sports and LGBT Foundation.

ED&I strategy

Take a look at what we plan to achieve


Find out what all the different terms mean here