Solutions to Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport

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Dozens of  coach 'manuals' and 'guides' have been created.
It is unclear if any are effective or used.

Solutions for coaches and athletes

Problem: Casual homopobic language and humor is common players and staff

Homophobic language and behaviours


The majority of teenage males continue to report using homophobic language in male sport. Education programs have shown limited benefit (in any setting) in changing this behaviour. As the video above details, this behaviour is generally not driven by homophobic attitudes, but rather culture/social norms. Two approaches show promise in changing culture/norms. 1. Pride Games




Lesbian stigma in female sport


Recent research in the UK has found the majority of female rugby players say others immediately assume they are lesbians because of the sport they play. Fear of experiencing lesbian stigma deters many girls from playing certain sports (regardless of sexuality) and lesbian/bi professional athletes continue to stay in their closet to avoid 'tarnishing' their sport. Just two scientific papers have focused on solutions.




Exclusion of transgender people


Yes! Users can add video from YouTube or Vimeo with ease:

  1. Enter App Settings
  2. Click the "Manage Questions" button
  3. Click on the question you would like to attach a video to
  4. When editing your answer, click on the video icon and then paste the YouTube or Vimeo video URL
  5. That's it! A thumbnail of your video will appear in answer text box




Do Pride Games work?


The FAQ title can be adjusted in the settings tab of the App Settings. You can also remove the title by unchecking its checkbox in the settings tab.




Does education work?






Problem: 15% of young people are gay but you have never had a gay player ever had an openly gay/bi player and casual homopob

Cause


  • Most policy makers and sport organizations are unaware the LGB youth population is larger than most other identifiable groups which receive significant attention and funding.

  • Large scale population studies, such as those by the American CDC, find 15% of high-school students identify as non-heterosexual.

  • Gay and bisexual youth play team sport at half the rate of their peers. This means millions of young men are avoiding sport and not gaining the potential benefits.




Solutions


  • The CDC and a joint statement by all United Nations agencies have called on governments to urgently address the victization that LGB youth experience in community settings, which is a key factor in the high rates of suicide, self-harm, drug/alcohol abuse, and mental health disorders
  • Public health bodies and sport policy makers need to make this population a focus in multi-year sport participation and public health strategies.
  • Ending discrimination and promoting positve sport engagement by gay/bi youth could help to mitigate the broad range of negative health outcomes.





Solutions for policy makers/public health

Problem: Sport organizations have made commitments to address homophobia but there has been little change or progress

Cause


  • Research in Canada, the UK, USA, and Australia consistently finds around half of male athletes regularly use homophobic language, and the majority have heard their teammates use words like 'fag' or 'cocksucker' in the past two weeks.

  • This language is generally habitual banter and humour in sport, rather than used with to express hate (see the video on the Causes page).

  • However, 81% of gay/bi athletes say they feel discriminated against when they hear teammates use homophobic language, regardless of the intent.

  • This is why they hide their sexuality. stop playing sport, or worse, self-harm or attempt suicide.




Solutions


  • Hold a team meeting to discuss the use of homophobic, sexist, and racist banter.
  • You will find the majority of team members want it to stop, but do not realise that their teammates feel the same way.
  • Appoint the leadership group (e.g. captains) to set the standards of behaviour and help remind others that culture is important to performance and team cohesion and homophobic, sexist, and racist ‘banter’ or ‘locker room talk’ is not acceptable.





Problem: Gay youth avoid sport and are 4X more likely to attempt suicide than peers

Cause


  • Most policy makers and sport organizations are unaware the LGB youth population is larger than most other identifiable groups which receive significant attention and funding.

  • Large scale population studies, such as those by the American CDC, find 15% of high-school students identify as non-heterosexual.

  • Gay and bisexual youth play team sport at half the rate of their peers. This means millions of young men are avoiding sport and not gaining the potential benefits.




Solutions


  • The CDC and a joint statement by all United Nations agencies have called on governments to urgently address the victization that LGB youth experience in community settings, which is a key factor in the high rates of suicide, self-harm, drug/alcohol abuse, and mental health disorders
  • Public health bodies and sport policy makers need to make this population a focus in multi-year sport participation and public health strategies.
  • Ending discrimination and promoting positve sport engagement by gay/bi youth could help to mitigate the broad range of negative health outcomes.





Solutions for sport leaders/managers

Problem: Homophobic language is common and gay/bi athletes are invisible

Cause


  • Most policy makers and sport organizations are unaware the LGB youth population is larger than most other identifiable groups which receive significant attention and funding.

  • Large scale population studies, such as those by the American CDC, find 15% of high-school students identify as non-heterosexual.

  • Gay and bisexual youth play team sport at half the rate of their peers. This means millions of young men are avoiding sport and not gaining the potential benefits.




Solutions


  • The CDC and a joint statement by all United Nations agencies have called on governments to urgently address the victization that LGB youth experience in community settings, which is a key factor in the high rates of suicide, self-harm, drug/alcohol abuse, and mental health disorders
  • Public health bodies and sport policy makers need to make this population a focus in multi-year sport participation and public health strategies.
  • Ending discrimination and promoting positve sport engagement by gay/bi youth could help to mitigate the broad range of negative health outcomes.





Problem: Investment in diversity education/program has not created change

Cause


  • Most policy makers and sport organizations are unaware the LGB youth population is larger than most other identifiable groups which receive significant attention and funding.

  • Large scale population studies, such as those by the American CDC, find 15% of high-school students identify as non-heterosexual.

  • Gay and bisexual youth play team sport at half the rate of their peers. This means millions of young men are avoiding sport and not gaining the potential benefits.




Solutions


  • The CDC and a joint statement by all United Nations agencies have called on governments to urgently address the victization that LGB youth experience in community settings, which is a key factor in the high rates of suicide, self-harm, drug/alcohol abuse, and mental health disorders
  • Public health bodies and sport policy makers need to make this population a focus in multi-year sport participation and public health strategies.
  • Ending discrimination and promoting positve sport engagement by gay/bi youth could help to mitigate the broad range of negative health outcomes.





Problem: We have made ‘tool kits’ and ‘guidelines’ but homophobic language remains common and there are fewer openly gay male athletes now than in 2014

Cause


  • There is no commercial or legal incentive to take action on homophobic (as well as sexist) behaviour which remains common in male sport environments.

  • Research in the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia consistently finds half of male athletes have recently used homophobic slurs (fag) and the majority (60-80%) have heard their teammates used this language in the past two weeks.

  • At most sport organizations, efforts to stop this harmful behavior is viewed as charitable or is done to achieve commercial objectives (e.g. new members from gay fan groups).




Solutions


  • Government and corporate funding needs to be tied to measurable change in sport on homophobia and all areas of discrimination.
  • The government agencies that provide funding to sport organisations have a legal and more responsibility to ensure they are not supporting organizations that allow discriminatory behaviours to continue.
  • These behaviors negatively impact female sport participation, and therefore lessen the success of your investments in women's sport, and also harm a relatively large population group of LGB people who feel unsafe and unwelcome.





The problem of homophobia has been studies for half a century, but only four studies have focused on finding  solutions. 

Over the last two decades, dozens of 'manuals,' 'guidelines,' educational resources, and policies have been created to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ+ in sport and stop homophobia. Unfortunately, it remains unclear if any are effective or used and valued by coaches, sport leaders, athletes, and policy makers. 

Many of the resources and policies also confound/confuse sexuality, gender, and gender identity. There is no such thing as "LGBTPhobia." The discrimination and exclusion that gay and bisexual males experience in sport (and the causes) is different from the 'lesbian stigma' that females experience for playing sport regardless of their sexuality. The approaches used to address homophobia will also be very different than those needed to resolve debates about transgender inclusion (read more about this)


On this page you will find resources and approaches based on science and evidence, or policies  based on peer-reviewed research and extensive consultation. There is not much. Hopefully this will change soon. 

Evidence-Based Solutions and Approaches

Homophobic language and behaviours


The majority of teenage males continue to report using homophobic language in male sport. Education programs have shown limited benefit (in any setting) in changing this behaviour. As the video above details, this behaviour is generally not driven by homophobic attitudes, but rather culture/social norms. Two approaches show promise in changing culture/norms. 1. Pride Games




Lesbian stigma in female sport


Recent research in the UK has found the majority of female rugby players say others immediately assume they are lesbians because of the sport they play. Fear of experiencing lesbian stigma deters many girls from playing certain sports (regardless of sexuality) and lesbian/bi professional athletes continue to stay in their closet to avoid 'tarnishing' their sport. Just two scientific papers have focused on solutions.




Exclusion of transgender people


Yes! Users can add video from YouTube or Vimeo with ease:

  1. Enter App Settings
  2. Click the "Manage Questions" button
  3. Click on the question you would like to attach a video to
  4. When editing your answer, click on the video icon and then paste the YouTube or Vimeo video URL
  5. That's it! A thumbnail of your video will appear in answer text box




Do Pride Games work?


The FAQ title can be adjusted in the settings tab of the App Settings. You can also remove the title by unchecking its checkbox in the settings tab.




Does education work?






Research on other topics

Articles on solutions to LGBTQ discrimination 

50 years of Evidence.  20 years of Pledges.  Time for Action.

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