When I first started working at The Rock Club I wasn’t out at work. Only a small group of friends new I was gay. I was new to Westchester and new to teaching and coaching kids. I was told it was best to keep it to myself for now. This was 2006. I was afraid that the parents would think differently of me or somehow trust me less. There were constant homophobic slurs heard around the gym (and pretty much everywhere I went). I finally had enough of it when a desk staffer casually made fun of another staffer by calling him gay. I nonchalantly asked him to use a different word and he told me “I have gay friends and they don’t care.” I told him “I’m gay and I do care.”
It’s a small moment but this, for me, was the start of what became a major change for TRC. Not long after, I (woh my then partner Danielle) started a little group we called CRUX – NY’s LGBT climbing group. (Now a bustling non-profit with thousands of members). Little by little, attitudes started to totally change. We were determined to be the most inclusive, welcoming climbing gym in the country. We taught inclusion of all kinds in our Junior Programs, on Team Rock, with our staff, and with our members. Overtime it became our culture, who we are as a community. Inclusion, diversity, community. This is TRC!
I sometimes take for granted how lucky I am to be supported as gay and as a female in this industry. I take for granted that we have arguably one of the most diverse staffs at any climbing gym. I take for granted that we have numerous volunteers for any community event we host. I take for granted that we give back thousands of dollars worth of climbing to our local schools. I take for granted that nearly everyone who comes into our gym comments on how welcoming it is and how it has this amazing “feel.”
Next Tuesday when we celebrate PRIDE, it’s a chance to remember how far we’ve come. It isn’t just about or for the LGBT community. It’s about TRC. It’s about us understanding our roots and about us screaming to the climbing world and our local community that discrimination of any kind isn’t accepted here.
I truly hope you’ll be a part of standing up proud, in rainbow 🌈 colors, to show why TRC is such an amazing place to call home.