Footy legend Dani Laidley will make history by becoming an ambassador for Australia’s first LGBTQI+ horse racing union, with a rainbow silk clad jockey flying the flag of the queer community.
The 55-year-old former AFL coach and prominent transgender advocate is one of the sporting world’s leading voices on LGBTQi+ rights.
The lead player for the 1996 Kangaroos will now lend that voice to the world of racing, something she has always had a keen interest in, along with glamorous partner Donna Leckie.
The two are ambassadors for Australia’s first LGBTQi+ horseracing union, in what is a revolutionary idea for the many queer people involved in or interested in the industry.
She is the brainchild of Ballarat-based trainer Archie Alexander and his wife Annie, who want their new mare to literally fly the rainbow flag for the queer community in what Laidley described as a brilliant idea.
Dani Laidley (2R) is an ambassador along with her partner Donna Leckie (L) for Australia’s first LGBTQI+ Horse Owners Union, which is owned by Archie Alexander (3L) and his wife Annie (2L). In the photo, jockey Paige Hopper (right) models the rainbow silks under which the horse will run.
Football legend Laidley has always had a keen interest in horse racing and is pictured attending one of the VIP tents on last year’s Caulfield Guineas day.
The LGBTQI+ union-owned horse will compete exclusively in rainbow silks (pictured here is Laidley and his partner Donna with jockey Paige Hopper in the jumper), literally flying the flag of the queer community.
“This has been a great idea from Alexander Racing to have a horse union for the LGBTQIA+ rainbow community and their allies, and to help people understand a little more about the rainbow community,” he said. herald sun.
“For people who want to come and meet new friends in a safe and inclusive space, we think this is an amazing idea, and if it helps anyone, allies, friends or family in the rainbow community, that’s absolutely great.
“From an idea, it’s now a reality and it’s visible, and Donna and I are so grateful to be a part of this Project Pride union.”
Alexander, a Group 2 winning trainer, said he had a ‘very nice filly’ who he thinks will make a talented sprinter, and he thinks she will give the new LGBTQ+ owners ‘some fun right off the bat’.
Enthusiastic horse racing enthusiasts Dani Laidley and Donna Leckie are pictured arriving at Caulfield Guineas day last year.
The owner’s experience of the so-called “Project Pride” was inspired by an Alexander family friend, Will Grange, and his wife Annie said they were determined to fly the rainbow flag to create a “safe space” at racing for the community. queer.
And he means that literally, because the filly’s jockey in each race will don a pair of rainbow silks in the color of the progress flag.
“We were talking and he (Grange) mentioned that while there are a lot of people from the LGBTQIA+ community in our industry, there is very little representation for them,” Annie said.
‘From our position as trainers, we feel this is what we can do to bridge that gap and welcome new people into our industry and create a safe space for them to participate.
“This filly, when she goes to the races, will literally fly the flag of the rainbow community.”
Laidley has always had a keen interest in horse racing, and last year she attended several big race days, all glamorous alongside her partner Donna.
Syndicate-owned two-year-old Headwater x Southern Girl filly is a ‘daring girl’, says trainer Archie Alexander
Laidley enjoys a tender moment with the two-year-old filly at the Alexander Racing stables
Unfortunately for Laidley, racing isn’t always a safe space for her.
She sued Victoria Police after a police officer photographed her at Geelong Racecourse last year while out with her friends and partner.
The footage taken on November 6, 2021 was widely shared on social media by members of the Victoria Police and was allegedly accompanied by transphobic comments according to Leckie.
For now though, the Kangaroos Hall of Famer will be leading the LGBTQ+ unionwhich includes naming the horse by vote, inclusive race days and events, personalized stable tours and regular updates on the two-year-old filly Headwater x Southern Girl.