Outsports is the LGBT blog of SB Nation, and it's like an online version of the newspaper society page that, instead of reporting engagements and weddings, announces which athletes have come come out of the closet. Outsports writers are always ecstatic to report on athletes—like British horse racing jockey Jack Duern—who have revealed they are either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Duern's story is a real treat for Outsports' writer Jim Buzinski because the gay jockey has found acceptance in his sport AND he uses drag as an outlet!
These patronizing LGBT promotions usually include the courageous coming out story, even though many media are in the tank for the movement, along with the unflattering portrayal of people who don't see homosexuality as something to celebrate.
Duern (see his Twitter photo) came out four years ago on Twitter and was recently interviewed on the British horse racing podcast “My Pod or Yours. He said that after he went public about his sexual preference, the nasty older conservative horse owners immediately snubbed him and wouldn't let him ride their horses.
"I'm the only out jockey in the UK for a reason," said Duern, who accused other riders of being too fearful to come out. “Three years ago I did an interview with the Racing Post, and I lost so many rides off the older trainers who stopped using me as soon as they read about my sexuality. I was gutted."
Duern said, “I had had quite a few wins on one horse, but after the feature I wasn’t allowed to ride it anymore. I was told that the owners ‘didn’t agree’ with what I’d said in the Racing Post. I was angry, but I knew it was something I couldn’t change, so I just thought ‘your loss.’’’
Buzinski reports that Duern is happily in a relationship with Simon Reid, of whom he says: “How can one person make you feel so special?” His attraction to males is only one part of the story that thrills Buzinski:
"It was during this time off that Jack also discovered another of his many talents — drag. ‘I worked in a club in Birmingham where every year they have an annual drag night where the bar staff would dress up and perform. My friend dressed me up and was like, ‘Wow, you should actually do this,’ so then I started dressing up from friends birthdays and performing now and again.’"
Duern adopted the drag queen name Coco Demol, and his Amy Winehouse tribute act has been seen at Soho’s Halfway to Heaven LGBT bar. He says, "I love how it lets you be a completely different persona. You can say what you want and not be judged for it because being a drag queen is all about being sassy and fierce."
There are some dangers that come with leading the exciting and glamorous life of a drag queen jockey though. Like when Duern dragged on a Saturday and could not remove all of the temporary tattoos from his neck before racing two days later. Another jockey asked him about it, and he said, "I panicked and said that it wasn’t finished yet. When I saw him again without it, I had to casually pretend that I’d had it removed!"
If something like the Duern story sounds almost too good to be true for Outsports writers, it is. Buzinski concluded his tribute to the gay dragging jockey with a bit of sad news: "Alas, I could find no images of Duern as Coco, but it’s cool that he is able to show both his athletic and artistic sides. Update: Coco is no more. After this story appeared, Duern wrote me: 'The drag part of my life is now over :-)'”
In another of Buzinski's recent stories, he writes that it can be career suicide for athletes who comes out of the closet. What? Is he kidding? Did he not see the media's love-fest with Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy at the Winter Olympics a year ago? Is he unaware that Bob Costas branded Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics the "homophobic" Games? Buzinski happily announces that Kenworthy's star is rising: he has landed the role of Emma Roberts’ TV boyfriend in Season 9 of “American Horror Story.” For Kenworthy, "it was his salvation."