Uproar over Epsom Derby’s new LGBTQIA+ area featuring drag queen ‘Bonk’ as furious trainers slam ‘PR stunt’
PLANS for a new LGBTQIA+ area at this year’s Epsom Derby have sparked uproar.
Jockey club chiefs want to make the world’s most prestigious race more inclusive by featuring drag artists such as ‘Bonk’.
InstagramDrag artist Bonk will be one of the stars on show at the new LGBTQIA+ area at Epsom for the Derby[/caption]
But the move has been branded a shameless ‘PR stunt’ by some within the industry.
According to The Telegraph, a ‘large festival-style tent’ will be put up on the famous Hill.
There will be a bar, DJ and performances from Bonk and fellow drag queen Cara Melle.
There will even be a ‘library of queer literature’ for those enjoying a day out at the races to enjoy.
But highly respected trainers Mick Appleby – who is openly gay – and female handler Gay Kelleway have slated the move.
Appleby told The Telegraph: “Personally, I don’t think it’s probably the right sort of place or time to be doing something like that.
“I think it’s more of a PR thing to be honest.
“There have been a lot of similar events like this for a number of years.
“But it’s whether it’s just getting a bit all in your face now … especially when people are accepting it more.
“Some people seem to think it’s getting rammed down their throat all the time.
“I think they would feel put off by it. Especially the older generation.”
Kelleway, who has been in Ukraine rescuing horses during the conflict, added: “I just don’t understand this waste of money, these PR stunts.”
News of the plans sparked a flurry of comments online.
Famous social commentator Jordan Peterson was one of those to reply, posting a photo of Pennywise the clown next to a tweet about the story.
One racing fan wrote: “Oh deary me.”
Another said: “How is this being inclusive?”
While one comment read: “Since when has that been needed? When was the last attack on someone there because of being LGBT?”
The Jockey Club said in a statement: “The Jockey Club is passionate about making horse racing an open and welcoming sport for all.
“The research that has been undertaken highlights there are not enough spaces created with the LGBTQIA+ community in mind at major sporting events and this initiative is only the first step in exploring what part The Jockey Club can play in helping to address that.
“The Derby’s history, as an event which has always been enjoyed by a hugely diverse cross-section of society, makes this a perfect opportunity to engage with people who may not have previously considered horse racing and hopefully create a blueprint that could be replicated more widely across other sports.”
This year’s Derby will already be run at its much earlier time of 1.30pm and there is the threat of eco-yobs storming the track.
Some £150,000 will be spent on extra policing to stop the ugly scenes we saw at Aintree for the Grand National reoccurring.