Punters cancel bookings, abuse jockey club staff over homosexual race day
Why the favoritism? Why not just have a PEOPLE'S day, as was always done in the past?
AN Australian Jockey Club has faced a backlash over its decision to run a gay and lesbian raceday. The South Australian club is catering for a crowd of 5000 at Adelaide's Morphettville this Saturday, for its inaugural Pink Diamond Day.
But several regular racegoers will boycott the event, run in conjunction with the gay and lesbian Feast Festival.
SAJC chief executive Brenton Wilkinson told The Advertiser yesterday trackside diners had rung to cancel bookings, specifically stating they did not approve of the event. SAJC staff have also received abusive phone calls and "outraged" emails from members.
"We're disappointed some people have taken offence that we have got involved with a large festival that has been here successfully for 13 years, " Mr Wilkinson said. "One guy rang up and abused the girls in sales and said we shouldn't be supporting 'poofters' and things like this - that it's not proper. "It's hard to know what to say to people, but attendance is not compulsory and people can make their own choices."
An email to the club, seen by The Advertiser, suggests former champion sprinter Apache Cat should be promoted as the main attraction for the day and not "a bunch of ***pushers and others dressed in pink". The writer adds "you've lost this homophobic for the day" and argues "Adelaide is not like Sydney in the gay stakes".
Feast Festival general manager David Waylen said: "We don't go out of our way to make defamatory comments when they hold straight racedays, so I don't understand this attitude. "The SAJC is arguably the most conservative sporting group in SA and we thought it was a huge coup for us to establish a partnership," he said.
Mr Waylen said that despite the reaction of some, Adelaide was becoming more "gay-friendly" than 10 years ago and sees the arrangement with the SAJC as "win-win". "We're looking to be more mainstream and engage with the wider community, and the Jockey Club gets to diversify its target audience," he said.
"Queer people's money is as good as everybody else's and we, as a community, are no different to others. "These kinds of events allow us to get out of the closets, the back alleys and the basements of Adelaide." [Rubbish. South Australia had a popular homosexual Premier -- Dunstan -- for many years. His homsexuality was not publically acknowledged but it was widely known and obvious in a variety of ways. The Premier's residence is a long way from back alleys]