Sports, in some cases, are still an unfortunate holdout for mainstream homophobia. Whether it’s slurs on and off the field, or the notion that masculinity is a barometer for skill, queer athletes face discrimination from almost every direction.
Danny Watts, a former Strakka Racing driver, took all of this into consideration before finally deciding to come out as gay. “Now that I don’t have to think about keeping my team and sponsors happy,” Watts told Badger GP, “I can do what’s right for me.”
It’s supremely unfortunate that Watts had to think that way while his racing was still his livelihood. While it’s easy to cry unfairness and prejudice, more niche athletes like Watts can’t rely on the public outcry that would accompany a similar situation in the NFL or NBA. “It’s not a decision I took lightly,” he said, “this secret has been eating me up inside for a while, and I can’t hold it in any more. Something snapped in me last year, and I began coming out to my friends. Now it’s time for the public to know.”
According to Badger GP, since his retirement Watts has combined his seasoned expertise with budding activism. Not only does he coach young drivers, he’s become a charity ambassador for Gay Racers, an organization for LGBTQ people within motorsports.
“I’m thrilled to have opportunities to give back,” Watts said. “There have been so many people who have supported me over my career. I want to pay it forward for my community.” Read the full Badger GP article here, and see Watts talk about the intricacies of his Strakka races below.