Meet the Crew, Pride Edition: Ingrid

Leanne Yenush

As Pride Month continues, we’re picking up where we left off last year and are sharing a handful of interviews with some of our Hydrow teammates in a special Pride Edition of our Meet the Crew series.  Meet Ingrid Oelschlager, Hydrow’s Digital Marketing Manager. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Ingrid joined the Hydrow team in January of 2020 first working on Engagement, but has recently joined the Marketing team. 

What does Pride mean to you?

To me, Pride is about the past, present, and future.  The past is all about recognizing those who came before us. It’s about honoring members of the LGBTQIA+ community who stood up for what was right, who risked their lives, who had the courage to be the first, who were treated inhumanely their entire lives and still found the strength to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights and acceptance. Because of countless heroes who put everything on the line to create a better future, I can talk about my identity without fearing for my life or societal exile, I am able to marry the love of my life, and as of Monday, June 15, 2020, I know that I cannot be fired from a place of employment just for being who I am. 

The present is all about enjoying the moment, about celebrating our incredibly diverse community and ourselves. Pride Month is about taking time out of the year to bask in the rainbow and be proud of where we’ve come from, who we are, and where we’re headed in the future. 

The future is all about continuing the fight. Despite how much progress has been made, there’s still a lot to do as we work towards equality for all. It’s our responsibility to listen to, stand by, and amplify all voices. Transgender people, LGBTQIA+ POC, community members in certain parts of our country, and the world, and so many others, are still not given the rights or the respect that they deserve. For those of us who do not face the same oppression, we have to hold ourselves accountable for fighting for what’s right alongside those who deserve a better future. 

Inclusivity, Pride and community are big pieces of our team's ethos at Hydrow. What does this mean to you?

The best way I can think of to describe what this means to me is via an analogy. Bear with me here...

A house provides everything you need to survive. Four walls, a roof, a place to eat, to relax, to sleep. It serves its purpose. 

A home is all of that and so much more. It’s a place where you have Sunday dinners, where you unwind with friends and family, where you share memories and stories. Where you laugh and cry and reflect and go through tough times. It’s the place, and the people who are a part of it, that accept you for who you are, while always pushing you to be more. 

Most companies are a house for your job and career. Hydrow, and the team’s inclusivity, Pride, and sense of community, are a home for mine.

What is the most important thing you want LGBTQIA+ people and allies to know?

Our differences make the world a more colorful, interesting, and better place. We all go through a process of discovering and accepting who we are, whether we consider ourselves LGBTQIA+ or not. Embrace the process. These things take time - lots of time - and there isn’t some definitive end destination. Even though the societal metronome clicks and clicks and makes it feel like we have to “decide” on a label or an identity or some final characterization of who we are, in reality, it just doesn’t work that way. Be kind to yourself, love yourself, know that you will change, evolve, want to use labels, not want to use labels, blur the lines in your own unique beautiful way, and ultimately, grow into exactly who you’re meant to be. Embrace the process. 

When working out on Hydrow, who is your favorite Athlete?

It’s too hard to choose! Each of the Athletes brings their own unique personality and style to the water; I find myself gravitating towards a particular Athlete depending on my mood. Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time rowing with Dani, Nick, and Aquil, who each make me laugh in wildly different ways. Not to mention, they lead awesome workouts and I always feel proud of myself afterward. My steady obsession is doing mobility and functional movement workouts with Peter Donahoe. These workouts are a part of our On the Mat offerings and I can’t tell you what a difference they make in how I feel physically. WOW. If you haven’t tried any of Peter’s workouts yet, I highly highly recommend you do! 

Is there anything else you would like to be noted?

My way of giving back to the LGBTQIA+ community is by regularly volunteering for the Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Project offers a variety of programs, training, and resources, on top of bringing visibility to stats like these:

  • LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.

  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.

  • In a national, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.*

The Trevor Project is just one out of hundreds if not thousands of impactful organizations doing work on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community. If you are looking to learn more or donate, I encourage you to check out this list of resources.