New LGBT+ network Racing With Pride launches in horseracing

Sports Media LGBT+ partners with Diversity in Racing Steering Group on ‘Rainbow Ready for Racing’ toolkit…

By Jon Holmes

British horseracing has become the third UK sport this year to publicly announce an official LGBT+ network backed by its main national governing body.

Racing With Pride follows on from the successful launches of the Athletics Pride Network, set up by British Athletics, and Pride In Water, a network for aquatic sports which is supported by British Swimming.

The new network is aiming to create a community 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.”

The Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG) – an independent body instigated by the British Horseracing Authority in 2017 – has set up the group, which has the following objectives…

  • 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

Sports Media LGBT+ has also teamed up with Racing With Pride on a sport-specific version of ‘Rainbow Ready’, the media and communications resources pack we first published in February 2020.

The ‘Rainbow Ready for Racing’ toolkit is designed to help anyone in the sport understand more about LGBT+ inclusion and give them the confidence to discuss the topic with others, particularly if they are working in a media-related role and communicating with audiences large or small.

Rose Grissell

Rose Grissell, the BHA’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion and one of the members of the DiRSG’s LGBT+ sub group, is excited by the launch of Racing With Pride.

“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,” she explained.

“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.”

Clare Balding

Sports broadcaster Clare Balding is similarly enthusiastic about what Racing With Pride can achieve.

“Racing is trying hard to embrace a wider audience and to make its own diverse work force feel confident and comfortable,” said Balding.

“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!”

Individuals interested in connecting with Racing With Pride are being invited to follow the network’s Twitter account, and apply for membership of the Facebook group.

In addition to the ‘Rainbow Ready for Racing’ toolkit, an e-learning module is also available to take via the Racing2Learn platform. The module was launched by the DiRSG’s LGBT+ sub-group back in Pride Month in June to improve LGBT+ awareness and inclusion within British racing. Almost 350 people have taken the training since it went live, making it the most popular module on the platform.

For more information about Racing With Pride, visit the BHA website.

Sports Media LGBT+ is a network, advocacy and consultancy group that is helping to build a community of LGBT+ people and allies in sport. Learn more about us on our About page; to get in touch, Contact Us here.

Further reading…

‘Rainbow Ready’: Media resources on LGBT+ inclusion in sport

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