TO: Everyone Who Believes in Gender Equality in Nudity

FROM: The Calendar Men of WR23

SUBJECT: Operation Debrief Men

BACKGROUND BRIEFING

We still live in a world run by men who want to look at women.

We still see the objectification of women all around us, from Instagram to Game of Thrones. And now that film-makers feel obliged to include the odd penis on the menu, that penis is likely to be fake*.

This is not the world you asked for. Where is the visibility of your desire?

The Roar is one of the few places where we specifically champion the rights of people who want to look at men.  People who want to create a world where all of us can look at each other in a healthy way, on equal terms.

THE PLAN

We are men of all sexualities who believe in your right to look at us. So much so that we will step into the firing line for you. Naked.

But to win this revolution we need your help!

YOUR ROLE

Our visibility can be your visibility. 

All you need to do is buy our calendar, hang it wherever you want and see what happens next.

You can put us somewhere private, as a reminder to yourself that you have allies. We hope you’ll feel the difference, and we’d love to hear about it.

Or you can hang us in a public place as a declaration to the rest of the world that you stand with us for change!  We’d love to hear your stories of how the world responds.  

Either way, you will have our gratitude and our support. And our naked bodies, of course.

Happy New Year from all of us! We’ll be here all year with our skin in your game.

The Men of Worldwide Roar 2023 

PS Please note this uprising is cruelty free and suitable for vegans! True, you have to take us out and put us up against the wall! But we promise you don’t have to shoot anyone. Our highly professional and very humane photographers have already done that bit for you. 🙂

PPS *Our standard calendar does not include frontal nudity. Our films, books and digital content do demonstrate our commitment to the cause as men with actual penises in all sizes.

WR23 Calendar

WR23 Calendar

£16.99

WR23 Signed Limited Edition Calendar

WR23 Signed Limited Edition Calendar

£36.99

WR23 Calendar + Seeing Men Catalogue

WR23 Calendar + Seeing Men Catalogue

£54.99

Sport Allies is the small charity (registration number 1169945) that we set up in 2014 and have been funding ever since from sales of WR products.  It is dedicated to making sport more inclusive.  The charity funded research that shows how sport can improve everyone’s life chances and quality of life, yet many of us feel excluded from participating in sport on grounds of gender, sexuality, heritage or economic disadvantage.  

The charity was delighted to get an anonymous donation of £5000 last week – and then a message from Joe Lycett this morning that this was actually from him!  For anyone who missed the story, Joe is a famous UK comedian and TV personality.  He challenged David Beckham international soccer star and long-time ally of the LGBTQI+ community to quit his highly paid role as brand ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, due to the regime’s ongoing homophobia, and homophobic treatment of their LGBTQI+ World Cup guests.  

Angus Malcolm, founder and chair of Sport Allies, commented: 

“Joe’s intervention in the debate over the World Cup has been truly inspired.  It shows how effectively we can make our voices heard if we are willing to step up.  We were happily watching with admiration from the sidelines, and were gobsmacked to find out that the funds had not been shredded and half of them were in fact in our bank account!  We are deeply humbled that Joe has made us a part of such an incredible story, alongside our compatriots at Stonewall.  He is an example to us all.” 

Sport Allies uses film to bring simple but vital messaging to a global audience. Based on the research report we commissioned on the problem of homophobia in sport (available for download and sharing at the Sport Allies website), the charity created film-making partnerships that would share this learning through short films, made freely available to everyone. These films highlight concrete examples of people and projects who show leadership in making sport more inclusive.   

Sport Allies are currently working on two new films that will build on a legacy that began back in 2009 (a year before the FIFA deal with Qatar) with the WR calendar.  It shows that our calendar’s mission to challenge homophobia in sport is still relevant today, as part of a wider mission to make sport an exemplar in promoting human rights and healthier masculinities.  To find out more about our aims and objectives, please visit sportallies.org. 

Joe Lycett prepares to shred!

Here are some facts about Sport Allies: 

As well as the £5000 donation from Joe Lycett, Sport Allies has also received over £5000 from nearly 500 donations to enter a Worldwide Roar exhibition, Seeing Men.  Curated by acclaimed international artist and former Head of Culture for the London 2012 Games, Keith Khan, this virtual exhibition can be visited from anywhere in the world.   

Not everyone has £5000 to give away, but the charity needs everyone’s support! And here is how we’ve made this fun for you… They receive ALL proceeds from entry donations to the Seeing Men exhibition here: https://www.worldwideroar.org/seeing-men-exhibition/  Enjoy! 

Visit our charity partner Sport Allies here

Angus Malcolm recently responded to questions from the Thomson Reuters Foundation regarding the Qatar World Cup: 

Why is the LGBTQ+ community so angry about the World Cup being held in Qatar? 

Because it is such a stark example of how money is more important than human rights – and not just LGBTQ+ rights.  This project raises concerns about racism, misogyny and modern slavery.   

For LGBTQ+ players and supporters, and their many allies within the sector, FIFA is showing the opposite of the leadership role we believe sport must fulfil.  Sepp Blattr’s comments typify a ‘not our problem’ attitude that simply does not cut it anymore.  

What is Sport Allies’ opinion about LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar? 

We have to consider LGBTQI rights globally.  Many countries and cultures are in different places regarding gender and sexuality.  Wherever Qatar sits on the spectrum in this context, they have attracted the spotlight by seeking and winning the right to host a major global event.  On that basis, they have no right to complain that they are being criticised for their rights record now.  They must reflect that they have been included in a global conversation at their own request.   

I hope that one day they as a country will look back on the World Cup as the moment when real progress towards freedom began for their LGBTQI community and for the wider population.  Only time will tell. The rest of us must consider human rights issues when making decisions about the hosting of global events – as a human rights promotion charity, we believe that most situations can be learning opportunities.  

What should footballers/football teams competing in the World Cup do in terms of showing their opinion/disapproval of queer rights in Qatar? 

We strongly supported silent visual disruption such as the armbands for captains and other peaceful gestures.  Our funding project the Worldwide Roar has been doing this for fourteen years.  WR asks male athletes to embrace public nudity as part of an experiment to change perceptions of sporting culture and highlight the difference in how our society looks at men’s and women’s bodies. We can be creative and impactful by being resourceful, just as Joe Lycett has been? 

Should they be going full stop? Does Sport Allies support a boycott – as many LGBTQ+ football fans groups do – of the World Cup? 

If there are going to be any people in the room, I think it’s probably better to be there with them, making yourself heard.   

It’s also unfair on the players and the many support workers who might only have one opportunity to take part in a World Cup.  The problem is FIFA’s decision, and the corrupt, dysfunctional culture that produced this outcome.  Only FIFA and its most deeply implicated enablers should suffer the consequences. 

And, overall, will the spotlight on queer rights in Qatar over the duration of the championships actually change anything – both in Qatar and the Middle East more broadly? 

Change starts with seeing the problem.  This is a chance to raise the bar for sport and hold its feet to the fire.  It is a bang up-to-date, 2022 textbook example of what happens when sport fails to play a leadership role in society.  The players and supporters who have put their faith in this culture have been badly let down.   

At Sport Allies and our fundraising project, Worldwide Roar, we have been proving for years that sport can do better!  Sport can lead change and it can reward its supporters by ensuring they get the support they deserve in return.  

Hopefully, both locally and globally, this World Cup will offer a platform that gives people a glimpse of life beyond their own cultures – both those of us who are complacent about our rights and those of us who have not yet dared to believe it can get better. 

Qatar – ‘..a bang up-to-date, 2022 textbook example of what happens when sport fails to play a leadership role in society.’ Angus Malcolm, Chair of Sport Allies

Whatever you might think about her accidental ascent to becoming a head of state, Queen Elizabeth II became the formal leader of a major power in the mid 20th century and went on to win the respect of the world. For seventy years, she met all the most important people on the planet. More importantly, they met a smart, yet unpretentious woman who had agency. Her fifteen prime ministers valued her ear and her experience. The way she fulfilled her inherited role created a legacy for women everywhere. We sent her our calendar and we understand it not only gave her a giggle but delighted her as a sign of the progress made during her reign to show greater respect for women and for the LGBTQ+ community whom she embraced so fondly in her day to day life. God bless you, Queen Elizabeth, who quietly guided so many of us through so much extraordinary change.

Here is a letter that we wrote to Queen Elizabeth in 2015

Your Majesty,

We read that you enjoy receiving correspondence from your subjects throughout the Commonwealth, and we thought we would write to share our story with you. 

We are the men’s rowing team at the University of Warwick and for the last six years we have been producing a calendar.  Given the state of our student finances, it is a blessing that ours is the sort of calendar where lack of a costume budget has been no barrier to success.

When we began our calendar, it was with the modest ambition to raise a few hundred pounds for much-needed boat repairs.  Six years later, we have raised over half a million pounds to support our club and other good causes.

We believe our success lies in the very generous support that we received early on from the gay community, and how we responded to that.  Although most of us are straight, we immediately embraced our LGBT supporters.  Over time, and somewhat to our surprise, this has led to our calendar becoming an international symbol of challenging homophobia, particularly in sport.

The calendar now sells in over eighty countries around the world, and our tour of the United States last Christmas generated half a billion page views in US online media.  (If you google Warwick Rowers, you will see there is a lot out there!)

Since 2014, 10% of calendar profits** have gone to funding the establishment of Sport Allies, a project to make sport more inclusive, particularly of LGBT young people.  Team sport is where the problem of exclusion is worst.  For example, Sport Allies’ research has identified that LGBT students who engage in sport at university are 50% less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to play a team sport.  

As rowers, we value hugely how participating in team sport has benefitted each of us in terms of our personal and social development, and we know that those seeking to recruit university graduates value these qualities, too.  In today’s competitive labour market, that can be the difference between success and failure.  Our goal, through the message of our calendar and through the work of Sport Allies, is to help young LGBT people access the same life chances that we have.  For us, it is nothing more than good sportsmanship and fair play.

Just last month, some of us were lucky enough to travel to New York to help launch an initiative by Visit Britain to attract more LGBT visitors to the UK.   We were very flattered to be told that our calendar is an example of how modern Britain is able to maintain traditional pursuits and values yet demonstrate progressive leadership in a swiftly changing world.  It prompted us to write this letter to you now.

It is an enormous honour for all of us to be able to make a contribution, no matter how small, to how Britain is seen in the world, and we are honoured, Ma’am, to remain Your Majesty’s humble and obedient subjects – in all our states of attire.  

The Warwick Rowers

**Since 2016, WR has devoted 100% of its surplus resources to funding Sport Allies and academic research into healthier masculinity.

The Queen visits Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals. Image credit The Evening Standard

This Christmas, as every year, we have posted pictures from 2014 of Tristan and his Warwick Rowers 2015 calendar buddies decorating a tree in Bel Air, Los Angeles.

The pictures have become like the decorations that every family gets out of a box each Christmas – much loved and somehow irreplaceable! But we are always open to change and this year we decided it was time to think again about how we celebrate Christmas.

The thing is, our family is getting bigger. Our first calendar cover as the Roar featured more athletes than ever before and our third calendar features the most athletes in total.

We are now working with sports bodies around the world to ensure that the Worldwide Roar will continue to grow, and at an even faster rate! Supporters will soon be able to get involved in the Roar in ways that we had not thought possible before. The Worldwide Roar will deliver on the promise of the Warwick Rowers by helping everyone to understand their relationship with masculinity, and how that affects their relationship with the world.

We will always cherish our pictures and our memories from 2014, when a handful of rowers went halfway around the world to promote our message of allyship. It was a great moment for our project, and we wanted to reflect the community that we have become as a result.

That was when Lucas, our calendar star and social media guru had a great idea! He invited our Instagram followers to create their own takes on our iconic Christmas shots and send them to us to share on our account. The response was incredible.

There were so many entries that we had to ask people to stop after 24 hours so that Lucas’s own family could have some time with him over the holidays!

You can see some of the results here, and the rest by visiting our Instagram account at @worldwideroar. All wonderful shots from incredible supporters, creating a new Christmas tradition at the Roar.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our competition, and to all of you who have spent many Christmases with WR. We’re family and we’re already looking forward to creating a lot more new traditions in 2022!

The WR calendar started out at one university sports club. For over twelve years, it has enabled dozens of male athletes to become allies in the struggle against heteronormative patriarchal culture. 

We know how meaningful our campaigns have been to our supporters around the world.  They also mean a lot to the men who take part, and that is why we need your help.

Our WR contributors become a lot more than calendar stars!  

Independent researchers have observed how WR participants embark on a journey towards greater awareness of their privilege, a stronger commitment to social justice, and better male mental health.  

These young athletes become agents for change in their relationships with their friends, their lovers, their families, their work colleagues and their networks. They have committed to being the change we all want to see.  

Great progress has been made in recent years to highlight and challenge the symptoms of hegemonic patriarchy: homophobia, misogyny and structural racism. But that progress is fragile. Our message and our method are more relevant than ever, which is why we have opened up this project to the world. 

For the first time, sportsmen everywhere can follow the original WR pioneers on a journey of discovery.

Now we need your support to make the Roar a truly inclusive global campaign with hundreds and eventually thousands of athletes!

Echoing the late 19th century revival of the ancient Greek Games, Worldwide Roar will put sport at the heart of a range of contemporary personal and cultural issues.    

Thinking has evolved since the modern Olympics began in the 1890s, but one aspect of the original games has been ignored until now: nudity.  WR will reintroduce nudity to modern sport as a way to explore how contemporary culture looks at men, because we believe that how we look at men lies at the root of homophobia, misogyny and racism.  

We will ask how a fresh (and yet ancient) perspective on the role and meaning of sport can be part of promoting healthier masculinity and gender equality and combatting structural racism. 

When we published our first book in 2015, we took a big step: it was the first time that the WR contributors agreed to appear completely nude in print, defying the implied nudity conventions of the naked calendar.    

Our athletes made a leap of faith to stand fully naked in front of the world.  That leap has taken us all the way to the Worldwide Roar, and there are sportsmen around the world who are lining up to join us. 

Despite the commitment of everyone involved – the men in front of the camera, the team who work behind the scenes, and the many supporters like you who have bought our products – we need more help to make the most of this moment. 

So far, we have been funded entirely by sales of our content.  It has got us to where we are today, and we are grateful to everyone who has ever supported us.   With greater investment, we know we can achieve much more.  

Here’s the problem. Right now, nobody at Google, Facebook or a thousand other corporations wants to take our call.  In time, that will change. Corporates are already learning that they cannot dodge the difficult issues and stick with the ‘safe’ options – they must show greater cultural leadership.   We believe that major commercial enterprises and institutions will one day recognise the fundability of the Worldwide Roar, and we are already developing a strategic fundraising plan to target institutional support. 

Our first step to bringing that day closer is funding an independent international academic study of our work.  This is something that has been in the pipeline for a long time; WR has been the subject of positive academic interest for several years, and we have found incredible support in academic circles.  There are many in academia around the world who value our innovative approach to promoting healthier versions of masculinity.   

Now a formal study of WR has begun.  It is being conducted by leading researchers at Leeds Beckett University in England and the University of Calgary in Canada. 

Inevitably, Covid-19 has caused unforeseen delays to the work, but we are confident that this independent academic exploration of our work will prove the value of the process we have developed over more than a decade. In particular, the study will focus on WR’s effectiveness in transforming the men who take part, and our project’s potential to help redefine the rules of masculinity for a new and more inclusive era. 

That is why we now ask you to make a similar commitment to the one made by the many young men who have stripped off for our project. 

Here’s the ask! If you are able to, we ask you to help us beyond just buying our products. And here’s why we’re asking…

A lot of our limited resources go into creating the great content you love to see.  We’re happy to create it, too.  Everyone involved loves taking part in our shoots and they are a key part of how our process works to transform and empower the men who take part.   

We recognise our responsibility to make our content accessible to as many people as possible.  We do our best to keep costs down, but producing and distributing our content is expensive and absorbs a lot of our revenues.  That is why we are asking those who are able to help us with the less “rewarding” costs of funding the academic research and supporting Sport Allies.   

The following three points are the basis of our promise to you as a WR core funder: 

  1. All monies received through the Core Funder programme will be ring-fenced to fund our academic research.  
  2. In the event that donations exceed the £100,000 required to fund our academic study, we will pass any surplus directly to registered charity Sport Allies, to further the charity’s work in identifying and sharing inspiring stories of inclusion in the world of sport.
  3. The amount raised by the Core Funder programme will be published on our website and will be audited as a separate fund by the independent chartered accountants who oversee our financial reporting. 

Become a Core Funder of the Worldwide Roar.  Play a bigger part in the change you want to see! 

DONATE TODAY