Racing with Pride announce sponsorship of jockey Jack Duern on National Coming Out Day
In celebration of National Coming Out Day on Monday 11 October, Racing With Pride has announced its first jockey sponsorship with rider Jack Duern. The official LGBT+ network for British racing, formed in 2020, is committed to improving inclusion in the sport by offering support, raising awareness and providing a platform for the sport’s LGBT+ community to have a collective voice in the industry’s activity in this area. As part of this ongoing work, the network is supporting Jack, who is the sport’s only openly gay jockey, as he returns to the saddle.
Jack, who lives in Birmingham and rides out regularly in Epsom, came out publicly in 2013 and rode 74 winners before he quit race riding in 2019. In 2018, he cited issues around acceptance of his sexual orientation and riding opportunities as well as struggling to balance work and family life. He made the decision to renew his flat jockey’s licence in July this year after receiving support from trainers including Simon Dow and Steph Hollinshead, as well as his weighing room colleagues and the wider racing industry.
British racing is one of the few sports with an out professional athlete and Racing With Pride wishes to celebrate this, along with its progress on LGBT+ inclusion, by supporting Jack and his race riding career. David Letts, Chair of Racing With Pride, commented:
“We are delighted to announce this pioneering partnership between Racing With Pride and Jack Duern. On National Coming Out Day it gives us extra cause to celebrate, not only Jack as a professional jockey and an ambassador for British racing, but, that we, as a sport, have an out professional athlete and have fostered an environment which has facilitated this. We all admire Jack’s courage, and he is an important role model for other LGBT+ individuals who may not be out; his story demonstrates racing’s accepting environment where people have the opportunity to be their authentic selves and reach their full potential. Whilst there is still much work to do, we are proud of the progress the sport has made and hope that this visible on-course representation will help to further encourage open dialogue around sexual orientation and gender identity.
On behalf of the Racing With Pride network, we wish Jack every success and we very much look forward to supporting and following his endeavours on the racecourse.”
Jack, who is booked to ride at Kempton Park this (Monday) evening, said:
“I am proud to be sponsored by Racing With Pride and to highlight the brilliant work they are doing to increase LGBT+ inclusion in British racing. I have previously experienced issues in the sport, but I believe that things are now changing and I am proud to play my part in this. Visibility is so important; I had to look to another sport to see a role model for success as an out gay man, so if I can use my platform to show one other LGBT+ person in racing that they are not alone, then I will be happy. I hope that by sharing my story and the important work the industry is doing in this area, I can show that racing will accept you for who you are and support you. Everyone can play their part in sharing this message, and demonstrating their visible support, as seen when so many of my jockey colleagues wore a rainbow armband last year for the Racing is Everyone’s Sport campaign.
Since returning to racing, I have been welcomed back openly and I feel my confidence and riding skills have improved as I have been able to focus on those, knowing that I am supported.”