Gymnastics NSW joins the Welcome Here Project
When Gymnastics NSW’s Carlie Hill sees a rainbow Welcome Here logo on a business premises, her heart swells with joy, relief and acceptance.
While a small token, the little logo tells a mighty story.
Back when street violence against members of the LGBTIQI+ community was common, local businesses signed up to the Safe Place Project and displayed a sticker in their shop front to let the community know they could seek refuge.
As times have changed and street-based violence has reduced, the mission has transformed into the Welcome Here Project to support business owners and services to create environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of LGBTIQI+ people.
Now, GNSW has registered to become a member of the project in the hopes it can continue to foster a culture of inclusion for those participating in gymnastics across the state.
As a newly registered member, GNSW can now visibly display the Welcome Here sticker at head office and use the logo on digital media.
GNSW has also been added to an online registry of businesses that welcome and celebrate LGBTIQI+ diversity.
For Ms Hill, who is chair of the GNSW Inclusion Committee, the stickers and digital logos tell a story of pride and change.
“I still remember going to a country town and walking into a candy shop with the Welcome Here Project sticker on it,” she said.
“It made me feel so welcome, it was an overwhelming feeling. As a member of the LGBTIQI+ community, it put me at ease. You just never know how someone is going to treat you, but when you see that sticker, it’s hard to explain how it makes you feel inside. You feel seen, heard and accepted. I wasn’t expecting it to have that impact.”
Now, Ms Hill is encouraging clubs to join in and register as well.
“I am hoping to help others feel the same way I felt – it’s liberating. I just knew I could be myself.”
GNSW wants to support people to come as they are and feel welcome to do what they love – gymnastics!!
For more information about the Welcome Here Project and how it started, click here