Racing comes together to be #RacingWithPride

27 Jun 19

It is important that everyone, no matter what background or characteristics is welcomed into racing and feels that they can be themselves without fear of discrimination or harassment, writes Rose Grissell, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for British Racing.

Everyone in our incredible sport is unique and brings their own individual perspectives – whether that be people of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, sexualities, faiths, ethnicities or disabilities.

It is the aspiration of both the BHA and the Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG) to build an inclusive culture where we, and others, all feel welcomed and able to be ourselves. Building an inclusive culture is of course the right thing to do, but it also leads to an engaged workforce and fanbase, is proven to increase productivity, and will deliver better outcomes for our sport.

With support from leading campaigners Stonewall, this year racing will be coming together between 28 June and 6 July to be #RacingWithPride by sharing positive messages in support of our LGBTQ+ community and to celebrate 50 years of the Pride movement. We are thrilled to have racecourses, stakeholders and charities across the industry joining the BHA in visually demonstrating their support by changing their social media profiles to a rainbow print, in line with other businesses and organisations across the country.

Both the BHA and the DiRSG are committed to ensuring British Racing is a diverse and inclusive sport in which everyone can achieve their potential and where fans of all communities feel welcome. The Diversity in Racing Action Plan published last year, called for the whole sport to unite in celebrating and promoting all forms of diversity across the sport.

Since then we have learnt more about the lesbian, gay and bisexual community in racing thanks to David Letts’ recent University of Liverpool MBA research. This, encouragingly, indicated that the racing community do not hold homophobic views, with 92% responding positively towards people ‘coming out’ as gay, lesbian or bisexual. However, there is much more to be done, with the only active jockey coming out as gay who disaapointingly cited losing rides from some trainers and owners.

Our hope is that this small collaboration across the industry is just the start. Throughout the course of 2019 the sport will be working more closely with leading LGBTQ+ campaigners Stonewall to unite the sport and make all racing environments more inclusive of everyone. No one should ever feel that they cannot be themselves.

It’s down to all of us to be an active ally to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in sport. It’s about working together, whether that’s taking part to win, working in a sport you love, or cheering on your favourite horse, jockey or trainer. Every participant, every employee, every racegoer is stronger and happier when they can be themselves, when sport welcomes and supports everyone. When we all play our part, we can make racing for everyone.

Below are some resources and support services which may be of use to you, your friends or colleagues within racing, or the organisation for which you work:

Tips from Stonewall

Where can individuals get support?