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Hi Amir,It is a great support for gay people that non-gay people speak out in favor of respectful relations between the two and advocate the message of inclusion. In this instance in team sports. Being gay means for me, that I have to come out of the closet again every time my (social) environment changes. I consider myself lucky, because I never had any traumatic experiences, but that does not mean it is not a hurdle I have to take every time again. Initiatives like Sport Allies are a great moral support and give the self confidence that it is okay to be open about it. Once I figured out what my orientation was, I was open about that to my family, my friends and even in the army, during the time I served there. Not all is perfect in the Netherlands, but in this respect, it is not a bad country to live in. I find the naked calendar on the wall very useful. It is visible for everybody (family, friends, maintenance people, delivery men) and nobody seems to take offence to the calendar. I think it helps that there is no frontal nudity in the pictures. My family does not mind that my nephews and nieces can see it as well. Sometimes it invokes a remark or non-verbal response and that is an excellent opportunity for me to do some explaining. When I say it is sold by a charity to campaign against homophobia in team sports, they often respond that they never thought about that before, because it does not affect their own lives. Almost always it is considered a worthy cause. When I add that Warwick Rowers is not a gay sports team, but that it wants to promote inclusion for all who like to participate in team sports, then it is praise all over for Warwick Rowers.It also gives them something to think about in their own situation. I have never been a fierce activist for the gay cause and I have never climbed the barricades for gay rights, but I will always take a stand against offensive behavior, discrimination and injustice. The calendar is just one of the things that helps me to bring the topic of homophobia to other people’s attention and gives me the opportunity to contribute to a bit of awareness and understanding on a small scale. Thank you all for the effort of making the calendar. Oh, and before I forget: I like most of the pictures too
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