Eight in ten gay people have been called “faggot” or “dyke” on the field.
The first international study on homophobia in sport has found 70% of Australians think youth sports teams are an unsafe place for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
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The study also found that 80% of Australians believe LGB athletes are either not accepted or only moderately accepted in sporting culture.
Out gay rugby player Andrew Purchas said he was “alarmed and surprised” by the extent of homophobia in sport uncovered by the study.
“The findings were much worse than we expected, particularly in youth sport,” he said. “Compared to other countries, gay men in Australia were the least likely to feel welcome in sporting culture.”
Alex Blackwell, an out lesbian cricket champion, called for more training and resources for coaches, officials and teachers.
“It was disappointing for me to see that a fear of being bullied as well as a fear of discrimination from coaches and officials is keeping so many lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in the closest,” she said.
“We must find ways to end homophobic behaviour and also ensure coaches, officials and teachers have the training and resources to be positive role models for all players on a team regardless of sexuality.”
Here are some of the findings.
A majority of gay and lesbian youth play sport.
Ninety percent of all Australian lesbians play sport in their youth, with the numbers only dropping slightly to 86% in adulthood. However, while 78% of young gay men play sport, only 49% of adults do the same.
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Reasons given for this were bad experiences in school PE lessons, and the fear they would be rejected by teammates for being gay.