Two studies conducted by members of the Sport Inclusion Project research group found significant differences in homophobic and sexist language use at amateur sport clubs that hold Pride Games.
Rainbow-themed pride games (also called Rainbow Laces Rounds) have been widely adopted by professional sports teams around the world. For example, every National Hockey League team now holds these events annually, as well as many Major League Baseball teams.
In more recent years, amateur and elite sport clubs (e.g. representative of a University or semi-professional) throughout Australia have also begun holding these LGBTQ-themed events, but the benefits were unknown.
Sport Inclusion Project's Erik Denison led a study that compared homophobic language use by Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) players. The study found teams that held these events self-reported using 40% less homophobic language than teams which had not held a Pride Game.
The promising results inspired a public health agency to fund a larger study across six other sports, which reported similar results for homophobic language and also found players on teams that held the events used less sexist language.
Neither study collected baseline data, which makes it unclear if the differences were pre-existing or perhaps due to some other factors. Both studies measured potential factors which could explain the differences, such as homophobic attitudes and religiosity. No significant differences were found between the treatment and control groups.
The two studies provide new evidence that supports further investment in research to investigate this promising and relatively simple intervention using randomised and controlled trial designs.
You can read a more detailed discussion on these findings here.