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’ homophobic language remains common, and ‘why’ girls of all sexualities experience homophobia if they play traditionally male sports.
LGBTQ advocates, government officials, and sports organizations typically confound the unique barriers and drivers of discrimination experienced by males, females, and gender diverse people. It is wrong to use terms like “LGBT-Phobia” which ignore the unique causes that require different, targeted, evidence-based solutions (not one-sized fits all approaches).
In male sport there is also an assumption that “homophobia” is the primary driver of homophobic language. This recent study challenges this thinking.
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.
Detailed international reviews of research have found providing education alone (e.g. providing people with information about the harm of language, as is typically done now) does 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...
50 years of research: girls still avoid sport due to lesbian stigma
Most female rugby players in the UK and Canada say people automatically assume they are lesbians for playing the sport. The stigma and discrimination that girls and women experience when they play sports such as rugby, cricket, or ice hockey has been extensively...