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E14 TRANSCRIPT: Omie Dale, FINA's ruling on trans swimmers and a rant about interview questions


[MUSIC starts - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]

FRAN: Hello and welcome to you on the outside the podcast that shares diverse views on Outdoors News. My name is Francesca, I'm the producer of On the Outside. And

OGE: Hi, my name is Oge Ejizu and I am the London Regional Leader for Black Girls Hike. And I am also And we are a dynamic duo.

FRAN: We are a dynamic duo. For the first time I'm loving this. Mm-hmm.

OGE: <affirmative>, me too. So this episode is a bit different. I know everyone is used to our panel discussions where we bring different news topics to the table, but today we wanted to do something a little bit different and I wanted to interview the amazing O Dell who is Director of Swim Unity and also Swim England's Swim teacher of the year 2021. So we have a brilliant interview with O who really advocates for different communities to get out into swimming. So I hope you enjoy the interview.

OMIE: Hi, I'm Omie Dale and I am director of Swim Unity and Swim is a community interest company based in London. We offer free swimming lessons for children and women in the area. So mainly based in West London, but we've trying to branch out at the minute. What we like to do is spread the joy of swimming as much as possible. So we do beach days with the whole family for free. We also run residentials. We just had a women's only residential in the Lake district. We're running one in <inaudible> this year. So also trying to foster that connection to the outdoors and nature, especially for people from inner city areas. The area we operate in mainly is the states next to Greenfield Tower. So many people were in surrounding areas when the fire happened, so just trying to, I guess, use the water as a space of healing and a space of joy for different people that often don't really get to access the water.

FRAN: Beautiful. So we have Dale on the phone call today partly to talk about drowning prevention Week. And this is something which we spoke about a little bit in our first ever episode way back when, almost a year ago now. And our other panelist, Eden gave us some information about it, but we just wanted to dig into it deeper and we thought that only would be a really good person to speak to for this because you do a lot of work in drowning prevention week and in kind of swimming in general. So okay, you were the one that said that should be a really good person to speak to. So I'm going to let you lead the first part of the conversation here. I think you have some questions.

OGE: I do. Thank you Amy for coming on the podcast today. I guess my first question is, what makes you so passionate about swimming?

OMIE: Yeah, I've swam since I was a child and I've always loved being in the water. And as I got older and I started swimming in the seas and the rivers and going on holiday and swimming in different places, I just realized there's a lot of joy in swimming. There's joy in jumping off a boat in the middle of the ocean, trying different sports out going coast, steering, swimming in caves and rock pools, et cetera. And there's such a big world outside of just swimming in a really chlorinated pool. And I think that joy is what's made me wanted to share it with others. And I became a swim teacher and I just absolutely fell in love with it. Teaching people to swim in a really vulnerable state, building a rapport of people, overcoming challenges. And for me, a large part of what I do and what drives me is spreading the joy of swimming. I don't want to make everyone an Olympian, I don't need everyone to compete for Great Britain, but I want people to be able to be comfortable and confident in the water really.

OGE: That's amazing. I know that when I look at your social media, I do feel encouraged to learn how to swim because if anyone remembers from the first episode I admitted that I dunno how to swim and I definitely think it's a life skill that everyone should have. What would be your advice for people like me who kind of dunno how to swim and maybe want to learn or feel like they may be too old to learn?

OMIE: Okay, the first word I'd say is that you are never ever too old to learn. I'm literally trying to get my mom, so my mom doesn't swim and she's only 52 and she seems to think she's too old. But I teach people in their seventies and onwards and yeah, it's never ever too late. I do get some people that are like, oh, I wish I learned this so many years before. Cause I didn't realize how life changing it'd be, but it's never too late. But what I'd say, and this is when it gets tough, is that with swimming, just because it is so technical you really do need a good coach or a good swimming teacher. You also need someone that is really understanding of your personal needs and anything you are bringing to the swimming pool because unfortunately a lot of the adults I teach come to me because they've had bad experiences in the past and that's put them off learning for years.

So they've ever had bad experiences at school or they've tried to do adult swimming lessons with someone that's not really been very understanding of the fears that they carry or yeah, it's just not been very accommodating. And I think that's what makes it hard about swimming, it's, it's not easy for everyone to find that teacher that they need or have a location that they can do at or even be able to afford it. But yeah, it is tough sometimes I'd say take a friend that's understanding that can show you a few of the ropes, but ultimately, unfortunately I think to learn and now the foundations a good teacher is needed sometimes.

OGE: So before we start talking about drowning awareness week, what is some of the things that we should look for or what someone should look for in a good swim teacher?

OMIE: So I guess a good swim teacher, it's a lot of the qualities of a good swim teacher is applicable to what a good teacher is in general. And I'd say it's some that really tries to understand your needs before you even get to the pool. So someone that will speak to you, try to understand your history of the water, your motivations for learning, and really actually your personal journey so that they come along on that personal journey with you. I'd say patience is a massive one because at the beginning there's a lot of repetition. You have to nail the foundations. It's a lot of blowing bubbles floating, and if you're with someone that's not patient, it's really difficult, but they also have to be motivating to help the learner actually go through that. And someone, actually, one big thing is getting in the water with the students because some teachers don't do that.

And I think when you come as a beginner especially there's so much fear that you carry, so it's good to have someone there beside you. But I guess for me the biggest one is that I think every teacher should view teaching swimming as something that they're gaining as well. So it's not just the student that learns, but it's also the teacher. I've learned so much from the people that I teach, different ways to teach different skills, loads of stuff, different ways to build rapport, different communication techniques, even stuff about their life or what their history. There's so much to learn from the people you teach. And I think actually seeing it as that it's a transaction both people are getting and stuff, it's not just the student that's getting everything. The teachers should be open to learning and gaining really from the people that they teach.

OGE: Thank you, that's really helpful.

FRAN: I have a quick question then in terms of knowing what you're looking for in a swim teacher, but where would someone actually go to find that teacher? Is that something that's always provided at local swimming pools or is that something which is a bit more tricky to get hold of?

OMIE: So most leisure centers will do adult swimming lessons, but you don't really have a choice as to who your teacher is. It's just where there's availability. If you want a specific teacher, that's when you have to look at private sessions and that is more expensive. But you do get to see what people offer, what qualifications they have, why they are a swim teacher, reviews maybe, and there should be, there's normally a good few people in whatever area you are in. But yeah, there doesn't really seem to be a big directory. If you look at like I'm also an outdoor swim coach and if you qualify for the Ssta, there's a complete directory of all the outdoor swim coaches in the uk. So you can find them very easily. But in terms of teachers, there's not necessarily that and there's not necessarily that review based system. What I find is a lot of people come to me through word of mouth. I don't really advertise that much on the internet anymore. What I find is someone will swim with me, have a good experience, and then they'll tell their friends. And that seems to be, I would guess, the most reliable way. But if no one in your circle is learning to swim, it's really hard to find anyone that way as well.

FRAN: And if you're focusing on outdoor swimming teaching and there is this big directory, can you start to learn to swim outdoors or is that something which you kind of have to be at a level of proficiency before you go there?

OMIE: Yeah, I would always recommend people learn to swim indoors first. It's just much more comfortable. There's fewer elements to have to consider and probably a few months of the year the water's warm enough to learn to swim, but it's always colder than the pool. And by the time you get into the winter months and even spring, it's far too cold for you to spend any considerable amount of time learning. And especially at the beginning, a lot of time when you're learning you're not moving that much, you're listening to technique, you are practicing the technique stationary position, so you just get far too cold. So yeah, I'd always recommend really going in the pool first before you are going outdoors.

FRAN: Beautiful. So for a couple of years now, you've done quite a lot of work with raising awareness around drowning prevention week and that kind of thing, and I've noticed that recently on Instagram you've been doing some really good short videos that are a little bit of those really started tips. So like you were saying, blowing bubbles and that kind of thing. Can you just tell us a little bit about those videos and why you decided to do them in that way on Instagram?

OMIE: So I guess a large part of what I do is trying to make learning to swim and being safe in the water as accessible as possible. And I partly do that through my work with Swim Unity where we offer free swimming lessons, but naturally we're only ever going to be able to target that at a number of people, not, we don't have the passage to teach everybody. Yeah, one thing I noticed as well is that people do find learning to swim really intimidating, you know, see people on Instagram swimming beautiful front row and diving in and going underwater and it just seems really unattainable. But actually what's really important is just nailing the foundations first. So yeah, I just thought I'd start making a series of videos of quite bite sized chunks of what I basically teach when I first take people swimming and it's really looking at breathing flotation body position. So it just shows that there's so much more you need to do before you try to start moving your arms and legs and breathing to the side. Because I just know a lot of people that do try to attempt the full stroke and they get disheartened and they can't do it, but it's just because they haven't nailed the basics really, really.

OMIE (on Insta): Here's part one of my series of how to be comfortable and confident when learning to swim. Breathing is one of the most important things to nail when swimming exhaling underwater and inhaling when you come up is vital to be relaxed when swimming and actually move considerable distances in the water. Start by practicing blowing bubbles underwater, holding onto the side. You can progress this by doing this with your legs up and eventually when moving, you want to keep practicing it so you can find your own rhythm of how much you need to exhale and inhale to swim comfortably. And here are some specific tips about breathing through your nose.

OMIE (on Insta): So learning to breathe from your nose is a really good practice to do under the water. When you start doing tans breathing on your side, it prevents water getting up your nose, which is really uncomfortable. It can be quite difficult to start with, but a really good way to practice is closing your mouth really tight and humming Good. Demonstrate in the water.

FRAN: Okay. I am going to do a throwback to the first episode here and I do believe that your call to action was that you were going to ask people to go and do a first lesson and you were going to have a look and see if you would do it yourself. Did you manage to do that?

OGE: I'm going to confess I didn't. I'm so sorry.

I'm sorry listeners. I didn't follow my own call to action, but no, I am going to learn to swim. That is on my list of things to do. I will learn I don't want to give myself a timeframe right now, but I will learn how to swim. But speaking of a Quebec to the first episode, we briefly talked about some of the do's and don'ts, especially during summertime when things are more open and people want to go into the sea more and all of those things. We did talk a bit about the do's and don'ts of doing that because it is drowning prevention week. What are some of the do's and don'ts that you would share as a swim coach for people who may go out into the sea or what have you and just may not know what they're doing but just want to have fun?

OMIE: So I'm never really of the opinion to say don't go in the water because it's just really unrealistic. And I believe more in sharing safe information because people are going to go in anyway. But what's really concerning is the majority of people who drown never intended to get into the water. So it's not good enough just saying like, oh, I'm going to stay away or I'm going to go up to my knees or whatever. Because the sea itself is super powerful. We are so much weaker than the sea and for me actually as I've got older, known more about the sea, the more cautious I am as a child. I was swimming, I was just doing anything and if I ever gone to danger, ah my god, I dunno what would've happened because yeah, it's scary now to think about it, but I haven't said that.

I would say if you go to the sea, try to go to a lifeguarded beach, it just makes it really simple to see where's good place to swim. There are lifeguards there. If you ever get into danger it's just one less thing to worry about because even if you're a really strong swimmer, you can get into danger. The sea does not discriminate against who it wants to take really, but if you are going out, just speak to locals about tide times, if it's good to swim in. Even stuff like sewage is a bit gross, but it's always good to know what's going on in the sea at the time. So local knowledge is really, really important. I would say try to go with someone who's experienced or just go with someone. So you always have a buddy if you do get to danger, if you can't do that, just let someone know where you're going and what time roughly you'll be back.

And I'd say in the sea, always by some bright colored, so try to wear bright colored hats if you can take a toe float just because if the seas really fast and if you do get dangerous, so much easier to be seen. Another one is try not to fight the sea. The big thing that we're driving prevention is float to live. So if you ever get taken in a riptides, you're going to lose a lot of energy trying to fight it and come back to the shore and let it carry you out. And if you are going to get rescued, it is really important to learn to float, float on your back and yeah, this is something we're finding that's immunity is like we're, a lot of the children are getting water competent, but they don't necessarily know water safety rules. So now that's a big focus of us because they may well be able to swim full stroke, but if they're at the scene in danger, they're going to tie themselves out. So yeah, it's just about really knowing the rules and what to do if you're in danger. If you go out, if you're going to itself, I intake waterproof bags of your phone in if you ever, there's a really good thing about someone calling, he got taken in, the tide came and he got stranded, but he had his phone on him so he called the Coast Guard, he was rescued. So yeah, to be more cautious than not cautious enough, I'd say

OGE: That's really helpful. So the first one is kind of know the local area that you're going to check out tide times, find a Lifeguarded Beach or see take Waterproofs, wear something bright if you are going in, take a buddy and take a floating device if possible. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah, it sounds very similar to the things we would advise if you were to go hiking and to prevent kind of injury or anything more fatal to that. That's really helpful.

FRAN: That is a really nice segue into our next one in terms of outdoor safety and swim safety and hiking safety, there's quite a few similarities there. And although you obviously run some black girls hike sessions I think I'd quite like to ask both of you, but I'll come to you first. Again, in terms of being somebody that is in charge of other people outdoors, that's something I don't have any experience in. I just go and have to look after myself. But what kind of extra precautions or extra planning do you have to make sure that you are looking after other people when you're doing that activity as well?

OGE: Yeah, I think that's really important and as we're now in the summer months, I think it's really important to be really aware of, even though it is summer, to be aware of the conditions and sometimes the conditions can be fraught with problems. So as a hike leader, I think it's really important to make sure first the terrain of the route that you are going on. If it's going to be really hot weather, don't really plan your hike at the peak when the sun is scorching because that will tie your people out even more. Always telling people who are coming on the hike to bring extra pair of extra bottles of water, extra kind of food to make sure that you are continuously hydrated because the worst thing is fainting or getting really tired from the heat and that's something that you have to be very much aware of.

The usual, making sure you have the right footwear so you're not kind of creating too much friction in your footwear when you are going on maybe a long trek. I think it's really important to take those things into consideration, especially in warmer weather when you are going out on hikes with groups because you're not just responsible for yourself, but you're responsible for the whole group as well. And just making sure that you cover all your bases. So extra food, extra water, making sure that you have the right equipment, not carrying anything too heavy, heavy because it's going to tire you out. So I think those are really helpful tips that I've learned and picked up along the way.

OMIE: Yeah, I'd say similar for swimming actually and guiding people on swims, it's doing a wreck of where you're going, so the place before you take people and just providing them with as much information as possible, just assuming sometimes it's really easy to assume that something's really obvious because you do it all the time. But actually for newbies it's a completely different world to just providing as much information as possible. And I'd say specifically with winter swimming and cold swimming is just trying to reiterate that it's not a competition and really getting people to listen to their own body because I'm very, very cautious if I ever take someone out swimming for the first time in the winter, it's, it's very much dipping dip out, get changed really quickly because it's really dangerous and I'd rather people come out wanting more than staying too long and something happened to them.

And I've been on, I've been invited to events, I was invited to event in February where one of the women ended up basically getting hypothermia at the end because the organizers just weren't really attentive and I found her in the changing room and I'm just, yeah, I think it's very easy sometimes to hold events, but you need to really do due diligence and make sure people are safe and enjoying themselves. You know, want to have fun but you also want to keep people safe. So yeah, just letting people know what they need to bring. Also managing expectations because some people will go in and think, yeah, I'm going to swim for this long, I'm having a great time. But before they get there, manage expectations. If it's your first time, not much is going to happen. And also in the summer it can still get hypothermia, you can get cold being in the cold water for too long. So still be mindful of that, even when the sun's out and it's blazing really.

OGE: I think that is such a really helpful tool about managing expectations and I think people really need to be aware of that, especially in the kind of both with hiking and swimming. I think, you know, have to really be honest and know your limits. I went on holiday a few weeks ago and I wanted to, well everybody knows, I dunno how to swim, but I wanted to go into the sea and I thought, oh yeah, it's okay. Floating is just, it's just really easy. You just lie on your back and you float. And then I got into the sea and I just felt so overwhelmed and then the person that I was with was just like, oh, it's just easy. Just lift up your legs and just lie back and fill up your lungs with air <laugh>. And I was just like,

FRAN: And then you just forget how to breathe sponge.

OGE: Yeah. And then I was like, I'm going to stop right there. I know my limits. I know I get really scared when it comes to the sea, so I'm going to just splash a bit of water on myself and get out because I know that could turn bad really quickly.

OMIE: And I think that's a really good thing as well. Also the, oh, it's easy flow on your back. I think sometimes we also have a really big responsibility as group leaders or facilitators to be mindful about the language we use and what is really easy for us, and again, I've heard this from other people and actually a group hikes, not black girls hike, don't worry, it was different hikes, but before anyone took something directed, which I'm not, but they went on what was called supposedly an easy hike and they were left behind and then the group leader was like, well this is easy. We normally do triple this, why are you complaining? So it's just because we do it every day, we need to create an environment in which people are completely new, are comfortable. So it's, it's also about being mindful of that. Sometimes I tell people, you can sit on the side and watch with your first lesson if you're that scared, you can dip your toes in. You can talk about swimming. Whilst I used to think, for example, briefing for example, I didn't even think about breathing underwater because it was so second nature to me until I became a swim teacher and I was like, oh wait, you have to teach this. What? Yeah. And it's that kind of thing of what's second nature to you is not second nature to other people as well. So yeah, just having that in mind

FRAN: And that that's something which I find really difficult being in water and stuff is that just getting my face under, I do not having my face underwater. And I realized it, I had a lot of people say, oh just do it. Just breathe out of your nose and that kind of thing. And I just couldn't get the hang of it. And then I realized if I had a nose clip, I can do it and I'm fine and I feel much better. And it was just that simple thing of you don't have to necessarily do it the way somebody else that's really comfortable does it, you can adapt it a little bit. And having just that one person who suggested it to me and I was like, oh my god, that's genius. It's so simple. But

OMIE: Yeah, exactly.

OGE: But I think that's really important about the adapting. I think that is a good conversation to have about the outdoors just in general, that it isn't a one size fits all for everyone. Yes, there are techniques, yes there are things that are important to know, but the way in which you demonstrate it and enjoy it and have fun with it I think it doesn't have to be a one size fits all. So just like you were saying on the, it's not about being Olympic swimmer, sometimes it is just, yay, I learned how to hold my breath underwater. That is, that's a triumph for me. But yeah, I think sometimes it can feel discouraging when it's like, you know, have that comparison or you know, can't do something or you're not able to do something because other people are doing it or tell you that it's really easy to do and things like that.

FRAN: I think one thing that I'd be really interested to hear from both of you, and I have a little bit of an idea of this in the hiking side, but not so much on the swimming side at all, is I don't think there's any, with hiking, there isn't a particular scale as to what easy, medium, difficult actually means. That's something which I feel like is quite subjective still. And even though you have some guide books, which will give you a bit more of an idea of easy means this sometimes what's easy in one is moderate and another one and that kind of thing. I dunno what it's like in swimming in terms of how you plan your lessons and your beginner lessons and where you're taking people outdoors in terms of difficulties and that kind of thing. But do you think that, well I suppose that would be my first question. Do you have a specific scale, which is a universal scale?

OMIE: Yeah, unfortunately, I'd say it's the same issue for swimming. We don't really have any universal, this is beginner, this is intermediate, this is advanced with the swim's idea. I just try to give as much information as like, okay, you should be able to swim 25 me one length for the pool. Or actually speak to people and see where they're at. Because we used to do stuff as ask people at swim uni like, oh, what level are you beginner or what? And we teach a lot of women and women typically undersell themselves. So I had about, I dunno how many people saying they were a beginner and then they start swimming lamps up and down. I'm like, okay, you're not a beginner. So it's really interesting to see what people describe themselves as, how confident they are. But yeah, we don't unfortunately have something universal. It's difficult, it's really difficult. And that's why I guess it's really important to talk to people before you take them out anywhere. Because one time they'll be saying, oh, I'm a beginner, next thing you'll speak to them and they'll be like, oh yeah, I did represent my county when I was 12. And it's like, there's no way. No, you are beginner. Which it happens more than you'd think. So yeah.

FRAN: Do you reckon it would be useful to have a scale like that and same question to you agai or is it better to just go a as you do with the specifics of if you can swim this length than this class is good or you can walk this far, then this hike is fine.

OGE: I think for hiking it's still kind of the guidelines, but when we do plan our kind of group hikes, we hikes, we base it on kind of the terrain, the length of time, what level of inclines are they going to be? Is it just a flat kind of surface from A to B? We take all those things into consideration and then determine what range it falls under. And then again with the managing people's for people to manage their expectations. So based on what your fitness level is, you need to decide from there whether you want to join that hike or not.

OMIE: I think it's be useful to have it for swimming mainly for big group activities. I guess to give people as well a bit more security that they're in the right group. Because sometimes if you just say, oh, you're beginner beginners, go here, people aren't necessarily confident about where they need to be. But then again, swimming is just, someone might be able to swim a length but they haven't actually mastered their breathing. And then someone who might have really good body position hasn't swam a length yet. So it's also really difficult in that sense. And that's why it's, when there is capacity to speak to people, it's really good to have that conversation beforehand because someone might be swimming the whole length for their face and without taking 'em on breath. And then it's like if you did two lengths, it's impossible to do any two lengths of that or anymore if you went into the sea you would be able to swim basically, because there's nowhere to stop. I'm breathe if you can't breathe. So yeah, it's always good to have the conversation as well.

FRAN: Yeah, really interesting. Yeah.

OGE: So only could you tell us where we could find out a bit more information about Swim Unity? How can someone join or sign up, that would be really lovely.

OMIE: Sure. So I guess the main way is on Instagram, that's where we publish what we're doing when we're doing it. And it's just swim unity, all one word on Instagram. And if you want to get in touch, it's And yeah, if you want to sign up for lessons, if you want to volunteer, if you want to donate, that's all information there really available.

OGE: Thank you.

FRAN: Thank you very much for joining us today Amy. And yeah, thank you for being a little bit of a experiment as it were, but <laugh> joining us for that experiment. But yeah, it was really nice, really good conversation.

OMIE: No worries.

OGE: So that was our interview with omi. We hope you it. And there was something that you took away from today's episode.

FRAN: Yeah, it was a really nice conversation. So thank you Arga for suggesting that one. Cause it was great to just be able to have a natter with her about what she's doing essentially. So it was lovely. So in keeping with the topic of swimming, we do have one topic that we'd just like to address quickly today, and that was the decision by FINA who are the International Swimming Federation to essentially ban transgender swimmers from all competitions. This is something which I have looked into a little bit, I dunno, agai, have you've read very much about it yourself yet?

OGE: No, I haven't but I always like to take direction from people who these decisions impact more personally. So I know that one of our panelists who I really respect, Eden, has lots to say about it. So I take her lead.

FRAN: Yeah, that's it entirely. And that's one of the reasons that we had a slightly different episode today because we really wanted to address Fe's decision, but we didn't want to do that without Eden. And Eden understandably wasn't up for talking about it, but she has written about it on her Instagram, and I'm just going to read out her official statement here. So she gave her official statement for all journalists, of which she said she was quite happy for me to use as well as the official one. And Eden said, "I am disappointed with the decision FINA have made without consulting any LGBT plus communities or having any additional plans in place, they will have longlasting effects on the lives of many women who will now feel unable or unsafe swimming in the UK and around the world." So we really just want to encourage people to check out the links in the show notes to learn more about what the ruling is. Do make sure that you are following Eden for some very useful information about the ruling. But more importantly, I think she is a great profile to follow for just a bit of trans joy as well, which I think is very much needed at the moment.

OGE: So I just want to say that it's funny that these institutions, bodies, whatever they are called in their professional terminology, it's funny that they make these rulings and then when marginalized communities start to create their own things, build up their own forums, their own things, and then these professional bodies will come back to marginalized communities and then try and either poach or try and say, Hey, can you come back and help us solve this problem as to why we're not getting these types of people into our sport activities? And then want them to only talk about the damage or the trauma or the marginalization that they inflicted on these community groups.

FRAN: That's it. Exactly. And it doesn't go unnoticed by, I think everyone that this ruling and the ruling that came from through cycling as well, which likewise will be linked in the show notes came during Pride month where we are seeing rainbows everywhere and yet we have the real world decisions which are stopping people from actively taking part in things.

So just before we go, there is something else which we wanted to talk about a little bit today, which is not quite a news story, but also worthy of a conversation. So it it's something which I, I'm very aware of making a podcast. It's something which I, I'm aware of because I listen to a lot of podcasts, I do a lot of podcast production and I do a lot of podcast reviewing for my other job. And so many podcasts and shows are just asking people to relive their story. I tweeted about this earlier on today and I was saying, if you have privilege, whether that is race privilege or you are non-disabled or are cis or you are straight and you are speaking to someone and asking them to relive microaggressions or trauma, that is something which you really have to question whether that's necessary.

Mm-hmm. Heard this before from Fritz, and me and Annie have definitely spoken about it in terms of people asking, tell us about your diagnosis. Tell us about that time that you were really down and <laugh> something, which if you ask that in other context, it wouldn't be acceptable. Hopefully I'm doing quite a good job of asking people to talk about what they want to talk about and not going into things like, tell us about that microaggression. Tell us about those times that someone was racist. Tell us about that time that you had a really bad experience with your disability, et cetera, et cetera. And I was thinking about it earlier on today when I was listening to a playlist and there was about four or five podcasts in a row, four or five episodes, and sometimes with the same people where the interviews would be asking, well, what kind of things do people say that make you feel out of place? And

OGE: I just gave the biggest eye

FRAN: Story. Yeah. Was the biggest, I

OGE: Imagine the emoji

FRAN: Was literally a's face just then. And it really, really gets to me because even if the person that you are speaking to for that interview is happy to talk about that, you are putting that out for listeners to listen to. And that person's community, the people that feel affinity with that interviewee are then listening to those microaggressions over themselves.

OGE: I do. You know what, I honestly think there is a time and place to talk about the microaggressions, the racism. I had a post that I put up, oh, I think it was two years now in the post I talked about, because I've got a plethora of new followers. When everyone realized that there was black people in the outdoors, I got a plethora of new followers. And for black hikes week, I wanted to celebrate who I am in my entirety. So yes, the microaggressions, the racism is part of my story, but it is not my only story. It's not the only part of my story. And I think sometimes we can overdo the wanting to understand the microaggression, the racism, the marginalization of someone without taking into consideration that there is a whole, there's a whole person behind all of that. And so my encouragement for people who were interviewing community groups that are underrepresented is to don't frame the conversation around the microaggression. Mm-hmm. The racism, the marginalization, the underrepresentation in and of itself. I think that can be quite lazy if I want to use that term.

But I think it's all also kind of makes people feel like, okay, the only way that I am seen is when I'm talking about, for a lack of better word, the violence that has been enacted on me or my community group. And I think there is more to a community group and individuals than that. I wish people would, and this is just across the board, this is not just for the outdoors, but I think people should ask better questions. Mm-hmm. Like when people say there are no dumb questions, but there are better questions that can be asked. And I think a better question, instead of looking at the microaggression, the racism, the marginalization, a better question is asking, what does liberation freedom to be your authentic self? What does freedom in this space look like and feel like for you and for what? Would you envision that for your community group as well?

FRAN: Yeah. Yeah. Re really reshaping it as that positive. And like you say that there are no dumb questions, but I feel like the caveat to that needs to be, there are no dumb questions if you want to learn something, but if you already know the answer, don't ask it.

OGE: <laugh>. Exactly.

FRAN: Now of course we do always like to end the episodes on a call to action. Okay. Do you have a call to action and not, I will learn to swim.

OGE: I'm not doing, I'm not saying that <laugh> really on my bucket list. I have to, I'm going to tell everyone. I'm going to tell everyone. If you know somebody in your family that doesn't know how to swim, please encourage them or yourself to get in touch with Swim Unity.

FRAN: I love it. We asked Amy for her call to action at the end of the conversation, the same as usual, and this was Amy's call to action.

OMIE: So my call to action today is follow the work of diversity aquatics. It's an organization in the US that looks at, as a name suggests, diversity aquatics. But yeah, they're really pioneering in their field and we take a lot of inspiration from their work. So definitely check them out.

FRAN: And my call to action for today is I would like to have a little bit of feedback on this episode in particular, but also the episodes over the past year. So we're just coming up to our one year anniversary and it'll be really nice to hear from listeners how you're enjoying the episodes, which conversations you like and what you'd like to hear from in the future. So this was a slightly different episode as well. So we're trying something a little bit new and I'd love to know what you thought about it. You can email us at on the outside pod, get in touch with us on dm, on Twitter and Instagram on the outside pod. And we do actually now have a phone that you can WhatsApp us. So drop a voice note, 0 7 8 8 3 9 0 5 3 3 6. All of those links will be in the show notes for you. On the outside artwork is by Sophie Nolan. Music is Bass Beats by Alex Norton. This episode was hosted by Oge Ejizu and myself, Francesca Turauskis. I was also the editor and producer for this episode. This podcast is part of the Tremula Network Adventure and Outdoor Podcasts off the beaten track. To find out more about that, please do head over to or find us on socials. Thank you very much for listening.


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