Motor racing-Hamilton’s LGBTQ+ stance reflects major shift in F1 stance

Saudi Arabia Grand Prix
Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 4, 2021 Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes competes during practice REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed

December 4, 2021

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton’s rainbow helmet in Saudi Arabia, and his views on human rights, reflect a broader shift in willingness to address issues that have arisen in the past Formula One’s past, according to Richard Morris, co-founder of Racing Pride.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who first wore the Progress Pride helmet in Qatar last month to support LGBTQ+ rights and is racing against it in Jeddah this weekend, told https reporters: // on Thursday, he feels “obligated” to come up language.

Both Gulf nations are hosting Formula 1 for the first time this year, and the Mercedes driver said Saudi Arabia’s laws regarding the LGBTQ+ community are “quite scary”.

Saudi Arabia does not have a drafted legal system and has no laws related to sexual orientation or gender identity. The judges convicted the men of “immorality”, extramarital sex and same-sex sex.

Morris, whose Racing Pride movement was founded in 2019 to create a vision for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in motorsport and to challenge negative stereotypes , said Hamilton’s actions were inspirational.

He told Reuters: “I think this year there is a big shift in Formula One that we are seeing in some drivers and teams, where there is now a willingness to tackle these themes of inclusion. .

“I think it’s a really important change… Formula One is visiting territories that have a different human rights record than we have in Europe but continue to defend its values ​​such as: so. And I think that’s really powerful.”

Team Aston Martin teamed up with Racing Pride, Pride Month last June, with rainbow halos on its cars.

The team’s four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel wore rainbow sneakers in Hungary and again in Saudi Arabia, where he wore a “Same Love” t-shirt over the starting grid as well as racing against the cap design Insurance carries the Pride flag.

The Germans organized a go-kart race for women, who were not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia until 2018, ahead of the big race in Jeddah.

Morris noted that Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, also wore a Pride t-shirt in Saudi Arabia on media day.


Morris, one of the few openly gay professional racers, said: “Visibility and representation aren’t everything and it doesn’t have to change overnight, but it does. at the beginning of conversations that I think are important.”

Hamilton used his background as the sport’s most successful driver of all time to champion equality.

Formula One kicked off its “We Race As One” campaign last year but the Liberty Media-owned sport has been heavily criticized by campaigners for racing in countries with poor human rights records.

Human Rights Watch said last month that Saudi Arabia has a “history of using celebrities and major international events to deflect scrutiny from its rampant abuses.” surname”.

The Saudi government denies allegations of human rights abuses and says it is protecting national security from extremists and outside actors.

Morris said the race in Saudi Arabia provided an opportunity to have a voice.

“Of course Lewis is speaking to his global fan base, to his supporters, to already existing allies around the world and to those who agree with his message of essence,” Morris added.

“But he is also showing a support that probably won’t be in the region.

“He is raising this human rights issue and starting those conversations. And I think once you start those conversations, there needs to be a response.

“Ultimately, the real discrimination and hatred comes from not knowing who you are hating, who you are discriminating.

“I think the more we can shed light on these issues and start these conversations and then bring about clear representation of these minority communities, the more we can educate people move towards inclusion.”

Morris says that while it’s “wonderful” to have allies speak out in a sport once famous for its macho image, there are no top-level LGBTQ+ riders and no female riders.

“It shows that there is a lot more work to be done throughout motorsport to encourage that inclusion and ultimately representation – not just of allies but of LGBTQ+ people,” he said. speak.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Rohith Nair) Motor racing-Hamilton’s LGBTQ+ stance reflects major shift in F1 stance

Huynh Nguyen

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