Diversity in Racing

Throughout racing’s history, people with enormously varied backgrounds have contributed to the sport. Racing is the second most attended sport in Great Britain with a 40:60 female male gender split amongst racegoers and is built on the unique platform where all genders compete equally.

Some areas of the sport could be seen as out of kilter with modern British society – from the composition of the sport’s leadership and the opportunities afforded to participants, through to the make-up of people attending and enjoying racing.

Widening Racing’s reach offers commercial benefits

Racing has been able to reach wider audiences due to some of its diverse participants and the appeal of top-class female athletes – the likes of Byrony Frost, Hollie Doyle and Khadijah Mellah, the young Muslim woman from inner City London who broke down perceptions and barriers to win the Magnolia Cup at Glorious Goodwood. This suggests this is an area which we can, and should, build on.

The world is changing and racing has an opportunity to:

  • appeal to the next generation (as fans and employees), to sponsors and to Government
  • compete with other sports and leisure activities
  • grow and thrive as a sport, by offering a big-hearted welcome for everyone.

Racing is everyone’s sport

Research indicates that many individuals who identify as a sexual minority in racing do not feel comfortable ‘coming out’ at work, despite largely positive attitudes towards sexual minority individuals throughout the sport.

An LGBT+ Awareness and Inclusion e-learning module and Racing With Pride, the official LGBT+ network for British horseracing, have been created for British racing to influence social change and promote a diverse and fully inclusive industry. Both are free to access and available to everyone involved in the industry.

Publicly talking about diversity issues can be daunting and many struggle to overcome the fear of saying the wrong thing. We’ve teamed up with Sports Media LGBT+ and produced ‘Rainbow Ready’ Strategy and Media Guideline to help you create and communicate content relating to LGBT+ inclusion.

We want to encourage people who don’t identify as LGBT+ to become allies, or just good mates, in the weighing room, on a racecourse and in yards, by supporting those who are LGBT+ and helping to create a positive environment.

For further developments follow @RacingWithPride on Twitter.

Take action today and download the above poster to display in your workplace

Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you, whether as a member of racing’s LGBT+ community or as an ally, so please get in touch here.

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 everyone’s sport.

Diversity in Racing Steering Group

2017 – Oxford Brookes University’s Women’s representation and diversity in the horseracing industry report highlighted the need for the sport to act.

2017 – Formation of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG), an independent body with no executive function instigated by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on behalf of the whole sport.

2018 – Diversity in Racing Action Plan publication which sets out ideas that can, and should, be addressed to promote greater inclusion across the sport, looking at participation, the workforce and racegoers.

2019Diversity in Racing Annual Update publication highlighting the progress made along with the priorities for the year ahead.

2020LGBT+ Awareness and Inclusion E-Learning launched and Racing With Pride  launched for British racing. ‘Rainbow Ready’ published to help the sport communicate about LGBT+ inclusion.

2020 – Diversity in Racing Annual Update publication highlighting the importance of capitalising on the current momentum within British racing to continue to work together for a more diverse and inclusive sport.

DiRSG Members

The DiRSG is made up of passionate and experienced individuals from across the sport with a common desire for racing to grow and thrive on a foundation of diversity and inclusion.

Useful contact details 

Head of Diversity & Inclusion: Rose Grissell at rgrissell@britishhorseracing.com, +44 (0) 7771 376 384

Safeguarding: Online reporting at britishhorseracing.com/regulation/safeguarding/ or email: safeguarding@britishhorseracing.com

Reporting discriminatory abuse: (e.g. homophobic, sexist, racist) – britishhorseracing.com/raceWISE/

Sources of further information

 – Women’s representation and diversity in the horseracing industry by Oxford Brookes, 2017

– Diversity in Racing Action Plan, 2018

– Female jockeys as good as males suggests research by Vanessa Cashmore, 2018

– Female jockey performance in jump racing is being underestimated suggests research by Vanessa Cashmore, 2019

Sexuality in British Racing by David Letts, 2019

Diversity in Racing Annual Update, 2019 


Racing Welfare’s 24 hour helpline enables everyone to access support and guidance through digital, telephone and SMS text options.

– Professional Jockeys Association Confidential 24/7 Helpline and support

– Stonewall’s Information Service – free and confidential