Take ALL The Intersections! 

Take ALL The Intersections! 


Notes from Our Journey 

When we started out as the Warwick Rowers, we were a group of fairly privileged, university-educated white men.  The only thing that really distinguished us was our age (the photographer was definitely a lot older than the athletes, though he denies it now) and our sexuality (if you have ever met our photographer, you will know that plausible deniability was never an option).    

We were exploring how our age and sexuality had led us to very different experiences of sport.  It was inclusion, but within very defined parameters.  We confronted the role of sport in perpetuating homophobia and we showed the power of individuals within sport to make it a leader for change.   

We have never stopped producing our calendars or our films or our monthly content because the further we have travelled, the more we see the privilege of men like us, and the responsibility of all men to support change.   

As our project broadened into an exploration of healthier masculinities and how men could help to create a more equitable society, we began to understand more about people’s lives are affected by the intersections between their ethnicity and their gender as well as their sexuality.   

Women now play crucial roles at all levels in our project, including as photographers, but we still have a long way to go.  We are particularly keen to explore the challenges faced by men who are Black and queer.   

We know that not everyone believes in the theory of intersectionality, but it has always made sense to us. Exploring how our lives depend on where we land at birth has always been at the core of our project, from the first moment when a Boomer queer photographer bumped into some Millennial alpha males at a university boat club. So it is very much part of what we intend to explore at Barefoot Man. 

We have just launched a WhatsApp channel because we are committed to engaging more people in a more active and diverse conversation about healthier masculinities.  Look out for more details of our new channel in our December issue and, of course, on social media.  We want to hear more voices of women, of BIPOC people, of people who may not have felt a connection to naked men in a calendar.  Because one thing that we come to understand over the lifetime of our project is that the old school rules of masculinity have affected everyone.   

The first Black man to sign up to our campaign was D’Paul.  He was not actually the first to appear, but he signed up in October 2019.  Of course, this was just a few months before Covid-19 changed everything, so D’Paul’s debut got delayed. We eventually made it work when D’Paul brought his incredible energy and life experience to our retreat in Joshua Tree, Southern California in April 2023. 

Meanwhile, downhill free rider Cody joined our project in 2021 when our intrepid duo of videographer Tom and photographer went off to Mexico to film and shoot the first FireRide festival in Puerto Vallarta.  Cody became the first Black man to have a starring role in our calendar and our digital content, including being our pull out poster boy for in the 2022 calendar – one of our favourite images, and a favourite with our supporters too. 

In 2022 we met Leyenne, who came to work with us at the Include Summit for inclusive sport in Birmingham.  It was not long before Leyenne was touring the conference centre in a WR onesie, and a few weeks after that he was happy to get out of the onesie at a calendar shoot in London, again with our regular contributing photographer Holly.  He made our 2023 calendar in two stunning shots by Holly. 

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, D’Paul has already impressed our team, our subscribers and our supporters on social media with his humour and his candor about the challenges he has faced as a non-conforming Black man in a conservative culture. 


D’Paul is helping us to create a more diverse conversation within our project, and we are proud that he is on the cover of our 2024 calendar as well as appearing regularly in our films and monthly Portfolio. 

In this November 2023 issue of ROAR Portfolio, we have brought together a collection of some of our best shots of Cody, Leyenne and D’Paul.  We are very keen to work with more Black and BIPOC men, so get in touch if you’d like to be featured in a future calendar and a future Piece To Camera! 

While it took us a while to get to this party, we feel we are in good company. Rustin is the first feature film from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground. Already tipped for an Oscar, the film celebrates the life of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist whose significant work was often discounted because of his sexuality. 

Now streaming on Netflix, Rustin chronicles the run-up to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. 

The film stars Colman Domingo in the title role. Directed by George C Wolfe, the film offers a portrait of grassroots activism and a man who, faced with prejudice from some civil rights leaders on his own side, declared: “On the day that I was born Black, I was also born homosexual. They either believe in freedom or justice for all, or they do not.” 

We are with Bayard Rustin on that. And we are proud that our ‘we’ includes D’Paul. 

To read more about Bayard Rustin and to access a review of the film, check out this recent article by David Smith in The Guardian.