Earlier today, being a writer for a motorsports site we were internally given a heads up that sports car driver was publicly announcing he’d hidden his homosexuality his entire career until his retirement. Yes - these days (at least in the civilised world) being one of the inevitably biologically sexually inclined percentage is rightly so, perfectly acceptable (I’d like to think, but I have no personal experience of that). But when did that start? Because certainly in the recent decades - enough to cover said person’s career - it certainly wasn’t. Indeed, in some countries the notion is considered criminal. Countries where professional sportspeople in our field would go to, and have to just keep shtum.
Indulge me here for a minute - I claim no experience or insight, and indeed as the recent Twitter spats between various parties, falling over themselves in my view to take the moral high ground has seemed very distasteful. It’s the unfortunate (what some people call social justice warriors sometimes unfairly) other extreme of any internet debate. I'm hoping I don't fall in to that category - but at least I'm wary of it! Incidentally, I also think if some women want to work as a model, and are genuinely happy to glamourise themselves in motorsports, then power to them! Obviously not everybody agrees - and I think it's absolutely fine to have contrasting opinions.
So my two pent worth is simply thus: ignore the fact that homosexuality is the subject. Take any genetic pre-disposition you like in fact, that doesn’t affect a sportsperson’s ability, (or even if it does, where we can make small changes which give no advantage but aid overall inclusivity). Why should they be marginalised, forced to keep it quiet, told to keep it their business, to the point where it makes them question their lifelong passion and career? I haven’t walked in their shoes, but to be on guard, not able to be yourself the whole time, to keep significant others away from your work maybe, have to take derogatory jokes maybe, year after year, decade after decade, must take it’s toll. I was listening to desert island discs to the openly gay rugby referee Nigel Owens - he’s said to the BBC he’d asked as a young man to be chemically castrated rather than live with the shame. You have to say, completely unacceptable for anyone to be pushed that far. But that’s a guy still working today, and has been through that earlier on his his career.
No, it shouldn’t be news - absolutely fair point. The fact that our sport has needlessly negatively affected some of our own IS news, and we have to learn from that. Call it a selfish view, but that old saying of “First they came for the x, I didn’t speak up because I’m not x…” is what pushes me to pen this rant - it’s about being fairly treated, which we would want for all including ourselves. Hopefully Motorsport (of course other sports too) is modernising, becoming fairer to all and will continue to do so.
(The article referred to is at https://badgergp.com/i-want-live-world-nobody-lie-former-le-mans-racer-danny-watts-comes-gay)
(Google paid ads were originally disabled for this article to hopefully to demonstrate I wasn't just writing click-bait!)