Jockeys' Association Stands Behind Study Addressing Sexuality Issues In The Sport

Jockeys' Association Stands Behind Study Addressing Sexuality Issues

After a study formed from the University of Liverpool, the Professional Jockeys Association has claimed more must be done to assist riders who feel insecure about coming out with their true sexuality.

Racing Professional David Letts revealed that conclusions from the research conducted indicated that the number of 'gay' jockeys in Britain sits in comparison to when generalising that figure to the overall population.

That number sits at 6%, but significantly contrasts to the amount who have publicly come out as non-heterosexual; just the one active jockey, who even stated after his decision that he anticipated to lose key rides.

Rose Grissell - the head of the BHA for both Diversity and Inclusion felt it was "disappointing" some individuals had felt uncomfortable to be open about their sexual orientation.

(Credit: Racing Post) She said: "The Diversity in Racing Steering Group entirely supports David’s core proposal that a campaign be launched to increase awareness of the issues surrounding the use of homophobic language and attitudes.

"The findings of the report show clearly why this project was so important. It provides the industry with evidence to start the conversation to ensure all sexualities are accepted with the same respect as other diversity characteristics."

Letts responded: "The research gained such attention and participation throughout the industry demonstrates that the sport is ready to have this conversation.

"The findings presented open a dialogue for further discussions relating to the involvement of sexual minority groups within British horseracing.

"It is of the utmost importance diversity in all its forms is given due attention in order to ensure the continued growth and development of the sport we love."

On the positive side, the overall majority of those sampled in the study from Merseyside were not to have found to hold homophobic views - with over 90% of the survey and 78% of jockeys responding on the positive side of being fair minded when asked how comfortable they would feel if a colleague announced themselves as bisexual.

However, of the male jockeys sampled, 5% reported using homophobic language as a form of abuse, with exactly half of those suggesting they use it as a form of humour.

(Credit: Racing Post) Paul Struthers - the Chief Executive at the Professional Jockeys Association said: "We were keen to support David’s work and were delighted with the response of our members to the research.

"The mental health and wellbeing of our members is of paramount importance to the PJA, and while there were some significant positives within David’s work it is clear there is much more to be done.

"We commend and thank David for this important work and look forward to working with him and the BHA to implement his recommendations."