…Why this is so important
When explaining why we need diversity programs in clubs and sailing programs, Karen Harris had three main points.
- It’s the right thing to do.
- Overall US demographics are changing, and the future of sailing and yacht clubs will include more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
- Being more inclusive will increase members and funding for yacht clubs.
If you haven’t poked around the US Sailing’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resource pages you will want to do that soon. They are working hard at getting these overdue conversations going in the sailing community. Their third panel was moderated by yours truly and had amazingly accomplished sailors speaking: Sally Barkow, Debbie Huntsman, Marie Rogers, Charlotte Kaufman, and our PNW heroine Jeanne Goussev.
I have seen how homophobia, transphobia and biphobia play out in the sailing world firsthand. As a gender non-conforming bisexual cis woman in a relationship with a man, I am never gay enough and never straight enough. Bisexual folks live in an in-between space — getting questioned about our identity by both the straight and the queer community. We have straight-passing privilege, but there is always a component of not belonging because of bi-erasure.