February 15, 2023 — Athlete Ally responded today to the Gender Identity policy developed by US Rowing, the U.S. national sport governing body for rowing.
The policy stipulates that youth level athletes and adults over the age of 18 who are not considered collegiate rowers are allowed to participate in accordance with their expressed gender identity, regardless of medical transition. Collegiate athletes, under the jurisdiction of the NCAA or other national rowing governing organizations, are subject to the gender identity policy in World Rowing’s Rule Book (worldrowing.com). The policy also includes suggested practices for inclusive clubs, events, travel and apparel.
“We are thrilled to see US Rowing adopt an inclusive, values-forward policy that recognizes the diversity of the rowing community,” said Anne Lieberman, Director of Policy and Programs at Athlete Ally. “We’re grateful that this policy includes specific provisions to safeguard the participation of nonbinary athletes as well, since nonbinary athletes are often sidelined or ignored within sport policy. It’s also critical that this policy provides a clear and important distinction between youth-level, recreational level and elite competition, because these are distinct categories that require specific consideration.”
“I’m proud to see US Rowing modeling inclusivity and showing LGBTQI+ and nonbinary athletes that they’re welcome in our sport,” said US Rowing athlete and Athlete Ally Ambassador Kendall Chase. “Teams are strongest when everyone feels like they are supported and can be their full authentic self. I want everyone who picks up an oar to know that they are welcome in this sport, regardless of how they identify. US Rowing is setting the gold standard for other national governing bodies (NGBs) around the country and I hope that these NGBs can follow suit, opening doors for more athletes instead of shutting them out.”