Saving Lives With Pride
Having been a long-time surfer, and more recently an ocean swimmer, Kaya wanted to be able to contribute more to his community whilst sharing his love of the ocean.
Image Credit: Orlando Anderson Photography
This year Lifesavers With Pride welcomed Kaya Wilson, Coogee Surf Club member and our first transsexual member, to march with us.
Kaya, who identifies as male, joined Coogee Surf Life Saving Club in 2019, completing his lightening bronze in January. Reflecting on his course Kaya said:
“You could tell all of the instructors had some kind of explicit training in terms of inclusion, sexism and that sort of thing, and they did make an effort to make me feel welcome.”
Having been a long-time surfer, and more recently an ocean swimmer, Kaya wanted to be able to contribute more to his community whilst sharing his love of the ocean. He found the club welcoming and it’s helped him to get to know more people on the beach.
Looking at all the things on offer in the club, Kaya expressed an interest in learning to drive Inflatable Rescue Boats. This is a valued skill in every surf club as the crew and drivers of these boats perform many of the rescues involving multiple casualties or people caught further out to sea.
Asked what he’d say to LGBT people thinking about joining a surf club, he said, “There is room to learn how to incorporate queer people. Give it a go.”
Kaya is also making a huge contribution to coastal science, within and beyond Australia, undertaking his PHD in Tsunamis and writing a book.
“There’s a lot of hurdles for Trans people to join in mainstream activities. A lot of it is structural and historical, but there is a space here.”
Lifesavers With Pride is in its 14th year and has consistently welcomed members from a range of clubs throughout Australia, who have demonstrated their support for inclusion in surf lifesaving. This year’s members come from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, and two international lifesavers joining us.
The Lifesavers With Pride Chairman, Gary Driscoll has said of the parade entry this year
“It is great that we are getting such traction from all around the country. The positive feedback we’ve had from so many clubs demonstrates a lifesaving culture is progressive, welcoming and inclusive. Having Kaya march with us this year reminds everyone that the LGBTIQ members are really welcome down at your local surf club.”
This year Lifesavers With Pride has expanded its efforts, offering support and resources for clubs wanting to improve their inclusion efforts. We’re pleased and proud to march for an inclusive Surf Life Saving.
You can learn all about us on our website: www.lifesaverswithpride.com.au