A study called “Out on the Fields” surveyed 9,500 people (2,064 were lesbian, bisexual or gay) and found that 84% had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports.
The study was the first and largest of its kind, and the results were disappointing.
When compared to the United Kingdom, and countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the United States was the most homophobic. In fact, it was the worst out of all English-speaking countries on earth.
The results were initiated by organizers of the Bingham Cup, and it found that safety is an issue at all levels of sports.
- 29% of queer athletes who experienced harm were men (19% were women).
- 78% of respondents said youth team sports are unsafe for LGBT people.
- 83% of American participants said that being in the stands as a sports-goer is a likely place to be targeted.
American culture is undoubtedly obsessed with sports, but why is it drastically more homophobic than other nations? The study says that we are least likely to say LGB people are accepted in sports. In fact, our percentage rate is double that of Canada’s.
While we see progress in Hollywood in terms of out and proud celebrities, we’ve yet to see a consistent stream of them in American sports. Jason Collins, Michael Sam and the current Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers have brought light upon the issue, but when it comes to major league sports, we are still sadly depleted.
Through a recent survey found that 73% of Americans support teams signing gay and lesbian players (19% oppose gay athletes), we are still missing the faces.
Gay athletes received support from all political groups, with 66% of Republicans, 75% of independents and 79% of Democrats supporting teams signing gay players, says ThinkProgress.
The problem lies in our culture’s thought process.
Openly gay players and openly gay fans seem to be welcome (on paper), but in spite of it, 56% of Americans believe that gay, lesbian and bisexual players face significant discrimination in the sports world.
How can we change this? If you ask me, it starts at how we treat each other in the locker room and outside the locker room. What we say and do affects how sports goers treat one another. If we want to stop being a walking contradiction, we need to change our culture.
Once we change that, we can change our cultural mindset.
What do you think?