Gay athletes ‘not safe’ in Australian sport according to world-first study that also revealed almost all young gay players hide their sexuality out of fear
- Gay athletes and spectators unwelcome in Australian sport, survey finds
- Almost 9500 people surveyed for the ‘Out on the Fields’ world-first report
- Report finds 87 per cent of homosexual young athletes afraid to come out
- 75 per cent say gay or lesbian fans would not be safe at a sporting event
Of those surveyed, 70 per cent feel youth sport in Australia is not safe and supportive for gay people. More than half also said they feared being openly gay would lead to bullying, in addition to 37 per cent who were worried about discrimination from coaches or officials.
A further 75 per cent of respondents said gay or lesbian fans would not be safe at a sporting event.
More than one third of gay men and 19 per cent of lesbians said they have been bullied. Almost 85 per cent said they have heard verbal slurs, such as ‘faggot’ or ‘dyke’, at sporting events.
Andrew Purchas, an openly gay rugby player and founder of the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union team, said the numbers were shocking.
‘We were all alarmed and surprised by the extent and depth of the homophobia that the study found in Australian sports,’ Mr Purchas said.
‘The findings were much worse than we expected, particularly in youth sport and the result that 80% of Australian participants believe that LGB athletes are either not accepted, accepted a little or only moderately accepted in sport is very alarming.
‘Compared to other countries, gay men in Australia were the least likely to feel welcome in sporting culture.’
Victoria University’s Dr. Grant O’Sullivan, one of the report’s seven international experts, said ‘casual homophobic language’ plays a big role in creating an unwelcoming environment.
The report discovered a number of alarming statistics
The findings suggest homophobia is rampant in Australian sport, both on the field and in the stands
‘Often this language is not meant to be hurtful but can be very damaging when heard by those struggling with their sexuality,’ Mr O’Sullivan said.
In response to the report, Australia’s four major football codes and cricket have reaffirmed their commitment to tackle homophobia in sport.
The Australian Football League, Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, and National Rugby League have supported the the idea of joining an advisory board with the Australian Sports Commission and Australian Human Rights Commission to support the development of the ‘Pride in Sport’ index.
In response to the report, Australia’s four major football codes and cricket have reaffirmed their commitment to tackle homophobia in sport
The Australian Government also helped with funding for the investigation
The index will be used to monitor inclusiveness within sporting codes in Australia and will provide Australian sport with a blueprint for good practice and allow an assessment to be made on year on year progress.
The Bingham Cup, an international gay rugby tournament that was first held in 2002, initiated the Out on the Fields survey.
The Australian Government also helped with funding for the investigation.