On behalf of racing, Great British Racing has today launched its ‘Racing is Everyone’s Sport’ campaign in support of Stonewall’s annual Rainbow Laces activity, with the objective of making everyone, regardless of their sexuality, feel welcome within sport.
Racing Is Everyone’s Sport aims to encourage and welcome LGBT+ participation in the sport of horseracing, bringing the racing community together to champion inclusion for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
As part of the campaign, Great British Racing has produced a video with contributions from industry figures, including ex-jockey Victoria Smith, work rider Christopher Williams and industry courses manager and racehorse owner Di Farrell-Thomas (all pictured) and trainer Mick Appleby, sharing their personal experiences in the sport and pledging their support to LGBT+ communities.
In addition, on Saturday 5th December at Sandown Park, Aintree and Wolverhampton racecourses, all jockeys will be encouraged to wear rainbow armbands and rainbow pin badges will also be available for racecourse staff and spectators to show their support to racing’s LGBT+ community.
David Letts, member of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group (pronouns: he/him) said: “This year has been challenging for all, however research demonstrates that minority groups have been disproportionately affected during the crisis. As such, racing should be proud of the significant progress it has made to promote LGBT+ inclusion.
The sport’s recently launched LGBT+ network, Racing With Pride, has been a great example of this work which has already proved most valuable to the industry’s LGBT+ community and allies. Everyone in our sport should feel able to be their true selves without fear of discrimination and I believe we are moving in the right direction to achieve this.
“We know that allies play a crucial role in creating an inclusive culture across sport. The overwhelming response to both our e-learning module and Rainbow Ready resource pack has been really encouraging and shows the desire to engage across racing. This campaign offers the opportunity for the industry to celebrate our progress and stand together against discrimination and demonstrate unequivocally that racing is everyone’s sport.”
Trainer Mick Appleby, who has been part of the racing industry for 35 years (pronouns: he/him) said: “Racing in general is very welcoming and open to everyone, no matter what gender you are or who you identify as. I always try to be open, and all my staff know that. Racing is like a family; happy staff means happy horses.
“To anyone who is afraid to be open about who they are and their sexuality, don’t be afraid, just be who you are.”
Leading Flat jockey and ally, Tom Marquand (pronouns: he/him) said: “We’re a big industry with a lot of people involved and with that brings a diverse range of people. I think it’s essential that everyone feels welcome and it’s something racing has tried very hard to do over the last few years.”
The Racing is Everyone’s Sport activity supports Stonewall’s annual Rainbow Laces campaign. Since its launch in 2013, Stonewall have sent out close to 1 million sets of Rainbow Laces and the organisation continues to change attitudes on this important subject. Last year, polling from Stonewall demonstrated that 65% of British people think it is important that anti-LGBT+ language and abuse is challenged in live events, which is a 7% increase from the previous year.
Maria Munir, Associate Director of Community Engagement at Stonewall (pronouns: they/them) said: ‘We’re delighted that Great British Racing is supporting our Rainbow Laces campaign, and joining millions of people across the UK and beyond to promote LGBT+ inclusion in sport.
During a year which has exacerbated challenges for LGBT+ communities, sport has become even more important to keep up spirits and provides a vital support network so we can continue to be there for one another. We’re so pleased Great British Racing is showcasing LGBT+ role models across the sport, which will help make horse racing more inclusive.
‘While the campaign looks a bit different this year, we’re keeping the focus on community and allyship, and we want everyone to lace up with us. From weekly quizzes on your favourite jockeys to discussing races on WhatsApp groups, we can still show up for ourselves and the sports we love. Now is the time for every club, team, and individual, from elite to grassroots sport, to show their support for all LGBT+ people, especially LGBT+ people of colour, disabled people and trans people to help make sport everyone’s game.”
Great British Racing is supporting Stonewall alongside several other high-profile sporting organisations, including the likes of the Premier League, the WSL, the FA, Team GB and Premiership Rugby.