Surf Life Saving Australia is an organisation commonly associated with blonde, bronzed men, chiselled abs, and those famous red and yellow flags. But the reality is that lifesavers come in all shapes, sizes, sexualities, and genders. And now, through the determined advocacy of Lifesavers with Pride, surf life-saving clubs across Australia display all the colours of the rainbow. 

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Lifesavers with Pride is an alliance of and for LGBTQI and gender-diverse surf lifesavers and was founded in the summer of 2006/2007.

Fifteen years on from their first appearance in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, Lifesavers with Pride has grown substantially, now boasting direct engagement with 112 different Surf Life Saving Clubs across the country. 

Proud Beaches Scholarship Programme

Driscoll sees the organisation’s role being two-fold: “Firstly promoting Surf Life Saving (SLS) within the LGBTQI+ community and, secondly, educating the organisation [Surf Life Saving Australia] itself on the importance of diversity and inclusion – both within the administration through governance and policy, and at a club level with initiatives that welcome everyone regardless of their gender or sexuality.”

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One of the key initiatives of Lifesavers with Pride continues to be their Proud Beaches Scholarship programme. These scholarships seek to remove the financial barriers to participation in Surf Life Saving for LGBTQI individuals across Australia, including covering Bronze Medallion course costs.

See Lifesavers With Pride At Fair Day

With Mardi Gras almost upon us, I asked Driscoll if we can expect to see Lifesavers with Pride amid the month’s rainbow festivities.

“We love Fair Day,” Driscoll declared. “It allows us to reach out to the LGBTIQ community directly and to really show off our terrific organisation.”

As for the main event, the parade, which will grace the turf of the SCG for the second consecutive year, Driscoll revealed, “this year, COVID-willing, we have a song, routine, props, swimwear and a heap of excitement ready to combine into an awesome float that’ll get the crowd cheering. 

We miss Oxford St, and the ability to have our full contingent join us, but the SCG brings its own benefits and we’re counting down the days to a fantastic night of fun and smiles.”

If you would like to learn more about becoming a surf lifesaver, connect with Lifesavers with Pride at Fair Day, through their website or on social media. And always remember to swim between the red and yellow flags.

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