Since my first day here at Williams, crew has been a huge part of my life – both the sport and, more importantly, the team. After some slight confusion as to which team I was on (the men’s or the women’s), the women’s crew has become my family here. Spending so many hours and days together necessitates a certain closeness through shared experience, but more than that, the team was my first and strongest network of support at Williams.
What, you ask, does this have to do with being out on the team? Actually, not much. Since that first day here, I have been out to the team. My identity as a “rower” and a “lesbian” is inclusive; I have never felt that I must downplay one or the other. I can tell a teammate at a party that she looks good, and not worry that she will think I am hitting on her. I feel that I can (and do) talk about my sexuality, a girlfriend, LGBT issues, Pride Days – just like any other topic we might chat about. This, I think, is the most important aspect of being out on this team. Not only is it accepted, but my sexuality is taken for granted. The team has accepted it not by overlooking it, but by taking an interest in it simply as a part of my life – one of the many things that defines me.
I hope that women’s crew is typical of Williams athletics in its taken-for-granted acceptance of sexuality. Thanks, women!