Causes of Homophobia and Transphobia in sport

We need effective solutions to stop the discrimination and exclusion from sport that LGBTQ people, particularly children, experience.

In order to develop solutions, we need to understand ‘why’ behaviors, such as homophobic language, remain common.

LGBTQ advocates, government officials, and sports organizations typically assume “homophobia” is the primary drivers of this language (transphobic language is rare).

This recent study has challenged our thinking and highlighted the need to rethink our current approaches to solving these problems.  

CURRENT APPROACHES TO STOP HOMOPHOBIC LANGUAGE ARE INEFFCTIVE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TARGETTING THE ACTUAL CAUSE OF THIS BEHAVIOR

WHY IS HOMOPHOBIC LANGUAGE USED IN MALE SPORT?

This video and recent research challenges our assumptions about the drivers of this behavior. This study on teenage American football players also challenges our thinking of our current approaches about why they engage in homophobic bullying. We need to change our current approaches which focus on building individual knowledge, and instead focus energy on changing group processes and cultural norms. Education will not change this behavior.

WHY DO LGB & STRAIGHT WOMEN EXPERIENCE SEXUALITY BASED STIGMA  IN SPORT?

Homophobia affects all women and girls, regardless of sexuality. This article and the video below provides a great explanation.  You can also read this summary on the social processes involving sexism, homophobia, and gender norms that drive stigma, and affect participation, which are conflated. 

WHY ARE TRANS AND GENDER DIVERSE PEOPLE EXCLUDED?

The media and public typically focus on a very small percentage of the trans and gender diverse population: trans women who want to play elite/pro female sport. They ignore the spectrum of gender diverse people and particularly children and young people who simply want to play sport. We showcase some stories below. This paper provides an important overview of the key issues and the OutSports study provides useful data. This is a good example of policy.

ARTICLES ON CAUSES OF LGBTQ

DISCRIMINATION IN SPORT

Gay boys play team sports at half the rate of their peers

Public health officials and scholars call for urgent action to address large disparities in sport participation rates between gay and bisexual boys and their peers Ground-breaking data by public health researchers at the University of British Columbia has found gay...

Half of male athletes have recently used homophobic slurs

Studies conducted on three continents and in different sports find most male athletes have also heard teammates recently use homophobic slurs Key Takeaways Claims that homophobic language is rare whenever professional athletes such as Marcus Stoinis (above) are caught...

VIDEOS ON CAUSES