Survey Suggests Australian Athletes Experience a Homophobic Sporting Culture

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4th August 2014 17:01 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

A survey published in July has suggested that athletes in Australia continue to experience a sporting culture that is hostile towards lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people.

The poll – “Out on the Field” – was completed by nearly 2,500 Australians, and was split equally between LGB and heterosexual respondents.

Findings showed that 85% of LGB participants and three quarters (75%) of heterosexual people said, while either playing or spectating, they had witnessed or experienced some form of homophobia in a sporting environment.

Almost two thirds of the survey’s LGB respondents believed homophobia (i.e. jokes, comments, insults or abuse) was more common in team sporting environments than in the general Australian society – just under half (47%) of heterosexual people agreed with this statement.

Half of LGB people said they had been the target of homophobia – compared to the 85% who said they had witnessed it – and, interestingly, one in four heterosexual men also said they had been the personal target of homophobia.

According to the survey’s findings, the most common form of homophobia for both LGB (84%) and heterosexual (74%) people is verbal slurs, such as ‘fag’, ‘dyke’ or ‘poofter’, ahead of homophobic jokes and humour and casual homophobic comments.

And, finally, more than one in four LGB people who had been personally targeted said they had experienced verbal threats, ongoing bullying or they were deliberately excluded from social groups –gay men were more likely to experience these direct forms of homophobia than lesbians.

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