Racing With Pride: Official LGBT+ network launched to increase support, awareness and engagement

07 Sep 2020 BHA Features Grassroots

Issued on behalf of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group

Racing With Pride, the official LGBT+ network for British racing, has today been launched by the sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG).

The network is designed for British racing’s participants, workforce and fans who identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other sexual orientations and gender identities (LGBT+) as well as allies of the LGBT+ community who want to demonstrate their support, regardless of their own identity. It will aim to:

  • Support: offer a safe space for LGBT+ people and allies to meet, receive support, have fun and enjoy racing online and in person.
  • Awareness: promote a better understanding of LGBT+ inclusion to ensure racing is everyone’s sport, encouraging all to step up as allies.
  • Engagement: provide a platform for the sport’s LGBT+ community to have a collective voice in shaping the industry’s future LGBT+ activity.

It is an increasingly challenging time for many in racing and this can be exaggerated for minority groups. Racing With Pride aims to be a community in which people can find support and camaraderie, as well as influence social change and promote a diverse and fully inclusive industry. Everyone who identifies as LGBT+ should feel able to be their true selves without fear of discrimination.

The network has been created and launched by the DiRSG’s dedicated LGBT+ sub-group, with the aim that it is for and led by its members. It will be based primarily on social media with a secure Facebook group acting as a safe space for members to meet and interact, with plans to host a range of events in the future. Updates will also be available via the Racing With Pride Twitter account.

It is hoped the network will act as a platform for shaping future activity, for example racing joining Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces activity in November.

To help organisations across racing support and promote the network, a “Rainbow Ready for Racing” toolkit has been developed in collaboration with existing group Sports Media LGBT+ to assist in communicating about LGBT+ inclusion.

Broadcaster Clare Balding, speaking in support of the launch, said:

“Racing is trying hard to embrace a wider audience and to make its own diverse work force feel confident and comfortable. This platform is a welcome innovation and I hope will encourage more LGBT people already in racing to feel appreciated and supported.

“As for those who have yet to discover the beauty of racehorses and the fun of a race day, I look forward to when we can celebrate with the first Pride Racing Festival which will no doubt have a carnival atmosphere!”

Rose Grissell, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the British Horseracing Authority, said:

“Given the recent coronavirus pandemic, many of us have experienced increased feelings of isolation and loneliness over the past few months, and research shows that these feelings and associated mental health issues are heightened within the LGBT+ community.

“We recognise this additional vulnerability and believe now is the right time to ensure racing’s LGBT+ participants and fans feel included and valued.

“Racing With Pride has been developed following recent research in the sport which indicated many individuals who identified as a sexual minority did not feel comfortable ‘coming out’ at work, despite largely positive attitudes towards sexual minority individuals throughout the sport.

“We hope to create a fun and fully inclusive community by providing a safe space for members to come together and share their experiences and to show that British racing understands the need for everyone involved in the industry to feel welcome.”

Notes to editors:

1. More information about the DiRSG can be found here. The DiRSG’s LGBT+ sub-group is comprised of:

Linda Bowles, Racing Foundation Trustee
Di Farrell-Thomas, British Racing School
Rose Grissell, BHA
David Letts, PhD researcher
Lee Mottershead, Racing Post
Gregg Taylor, Great British Racing
Chris Williams, studying for a training licence

2. To mark Pride month in June, the sub-group launched a new e-learning module to improve LGBT+ awareness and inclusion within British racing. More information is available here. Almost 350 people have taken the training since it went live, making it the most popular module on Racing2Learn.

3. The “Rainbow Ready for Racing” toolkit can be accessed here.