by Grant Godino


As I have started to share my ideas, opinions and stories about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Rotary, I have heard so many of our leaders say to me: “We’re a really decent club/district. We don’t have any bad people. So, we don’t have a problem. Right?”

I’ve also heard things like “why is Rotary doing something so political” and “there are no gay people in my community.”

These comments come from a space of ignorance, and I always consider them a teaching moment. For us to survive as an organisation, we need to be welcoming of everyone no matter how they look or identify. But while diversity, equity and inclusion have climbed the Rotary agenda over the past decade, many Rotary members in Australia that are not white, older, cisgender and straight continue to face discrimination, discomfort, and even danger in our clubs. When it comes to true inclusion, everyday interactions with peers and leaders matter as much as organisational policies or formal processes.

Here are a number of ways to make your club and Rotary as a whole more inclusive for people that ‘look’ a little different then the majority of your members:

Start having conversations.

In order to understand the challenges that exist for people that “look” different, leaders at all level (club, district, zone, and international) should stay connected to what it means to be someone in that group. This means:

  • Asking a local group to speak at your club
  • Downloading and discussing some of the educational resources developed by the Rotary International membership team and other groups like the Rotary LGBT+ Fellowship at your club assemblies
  • Contacting a group like the Rotary LGBT+ Fellowship to make a presentation at a club meeting.

Set a meaningful public example.

Small gestures like putting a rainbow or Aboriginal flags, or the LGBT+ Fellowship’s rainbow heart at the bottom of your website, acknowledgment of country at the start of a meeting or using Rotary’s statement on diversity, equity and inclusion to make a bold statement that we are accepting of everyone.

Support projects that address key issues for LGBTQ+ communities.

As people of action, we do amazing work to improve communities and the world. When you are considering your next project why not target an issue like:

  • HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, and sexual health
  • addressing mental health issues and homelessness in LGBTIQ+ communities and people with a disability
  • preventing violence towards LGBTIQ+ people, women and families
  • access to healthcare for ATSI people


Diversity, equity and inclusion are complex, and Rotary is making some great steps forward. We have started to address gender, generational and cultural diversity. There are still many other aspects for us to discuss including LGBT+, disability, indigenous people and others, and then also how these identities can intersect (for example, how someone can be both LGBTQ+ and disabled). I’m excited about our progress and encourage people to reach out to the Rotary LGBT+ Fellowship, leaders and district membership committees to continue the discussion.


Grant Godino (he/him) is the charter president of Gateway Rotaract, a member of the Rotary Club of Traralgon and president elect of the Rotary LGBT+ Fellowship. Grant identifies as a gay cisgender male and lives with his partner Lee (he/him) (also a Rotarian) in the Gippsland region of Victoria.