• sportinclusion

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

  1. Claims that homophobic language is rare whenever professional athletes such as Marcus Stoinis (above) are caught using homophobic language are not accurate;

  2. Similar to research conducted in 1973, recent research continues to find homophobic (and sexist) language is frequently part of social interactions between athletes;

  3. This language is used by athletes with both negative and positive attitudes toward gay people, suggesting it is habitual and drive by social norms in sport.

Researchers investigating the use of homophobic language in multiple sports and countries continue to find more than half of male athletes who play traditionally male sports such as football or rugby union have recently used homophobic language.


However, a recent study found this language seems to be disconnected from negative attitudes. Athletes with positive attitudes toward gay people (e.g. supporting same-sex marriage) were just as likely as those with negative attitudes to use slurs. As this video describes, researchers believe this language is supported by the unique culture and social norms in sport settings.




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