Motorsport isn’t known for being the most diverse and inclusive thing in the world, and visibility for minorities has always needed more work. Racing Pride, an organization dedicated to promote LGBTQ+ visibility, is determined to change that.
Racing Pride was launched on June 6, 2019 as a subsidiary of Stonewall, a UK-based organization that dedicates itself to creating more of an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people across the board. Stonewall has previously partnered with transgender racer Charlie Martin, nominating her as their Stonewall Sports Champion in motorsport. It was just the first step in what has now become a more widespread collaboration.
For more info on what, exactly, the new organization will be doing, here’s more from Racing Pride’s press release:
To date there has been no concerted effort to raise visibility for LGBTQ+ participants within motorsport, whether they be drivers, mechanics, engineers, or those in race support, official, or associated media roles. Through a network of Driver Ambassadors, commercial partners, and supporters from across the motorsport and automotive industries (drawing on allies as much as the LGBTQ+ community itself), Racing Pride intends to change this.
While it may not seem like much, a concerted effort to unite the LGBTQ+ community in motorsport is huge. Think of it as kind of like a union—there’s strength in numbers, and everyone benefits when a community comes together. It can feel lonely to think you’re the only queer person when no one has felt comfortable to open up. Think of Hurley Haywood, who didn’t come out until his racing career was over in case he wasn’t accepted.
Thus far, Racing Pride has a wealth of ambassadors—both drivers and journalists alike:
Driver Ambassadors for Racing Pride are: Charlie Martin (Stonewall Sports Champion and transgender driver competing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup), Sarah Moore (lesbian driver competing in the new W Series), Richard Morris (gay driver racing for Spire Sports Cars in the British RGB Sports 1000 Championship), Nick Reeve (gay driver and 2018 Clio Cup competitor).
Motorsport journalist Christopher Sharp, who is a member of the Autosport Academy, and driver Richard Morris are co-founders of Racing Pride. As well as input from Stonewall UK, it has been developed alongside a core team comprising: Jon Holmes (Sky Sports Editor and founder of Sports Media LGBT+), Thierry Courtois (Creative Designer, Mahindra Racing), Matt Bishop (W Series Communications Director, former McLaren F1 Chief Communications Officer), Oliver Warman (owner of Warman Media and founder of the Gay Racers online community), and Matt Beer (Autosport.com Editor).
As racer Richard Morris is quoted as saying in Autosport, Racing Pride isn’t launching as a finished product with a guaranteed game plan ready to go”we’re launching with a call to arms.”
Racing isn’t—and, really, has never been—”just” racing. Motorsport requires human involvement, and humans are diverse. Unfortunately, that diversity is often not widely represented. Just as there is in everyday life, there’s a huge pressure to fit in and conform to the stereotype of what a driver should be in motorsport—which denies racers the chance to simply live their lives without judgement. If you can’t name two LGBTQ+ racers off the top of your head, that’s why.
Racing Pride is a way to counteract the homogenization that often results from the need to cater to the respectability politics that are often unconsciously enacted when it comes to finding sponsorships or race seats. It’s a way for LGBTQ+ racers and journalists to feel like they’re not quite so alone—and to set a precedent for the future that welcomes people of all sorts into racing.