Homophobia in Sport and Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Athletes
Out on the Fields is the largest and the first international study conducted into homophobia in sport and the experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, including athletes, in sporting culture. The final results were released in May, 2015.
The study provides detailed statistics about the extent and nature of anti-gay discrimination and behaviour. It also provides detailed information and analysis about the experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual (LGB) people in sporting environments, with a specific focus on team sport. The study focuses on issues of sexuality in sport (see final report for explanation on why gender issues were not included).
Nearly 9500 people took part in the study (9494), primarily from English speaking countries. Participants came from a wide range of ages, income, educational and sexuality backgrounds including nearly 25% who identified as ‘heterosexual’ men and women.
Why is this the first International Study?
Prior to Out on the Fields, most research was smaller scale and focused on specific regions or specific areas of sport (eg. high school physical education classes). We have included links to some of this research on our Tools and Resources page.
In 2007, a Literature Review on Sexual Orientation in Sport done for SportScotland found there was a very strong need for large-scale, international research on homophobia in sport and the experiences of sexual minorities. Unfortunately, funding for this area of study is limited. A large, international study like Out on the Fields was only possible through the support of many people and organisations in multiple countries. Every person and organisation involved in this study donated time, resources or services to support this important research. The most important of these was Repucom, the international sports market research firm, which collected and collated the data which was then reviewed by the panel of experts.
Is this an Academic Study?
Out on the Fields is not a traditional ‘academic study,’ given it was only possible through the support of numerous people and organisations, including academic researchers. However, the research was conducted using the standards expected of academic research. The final report includes extensive analysis from a panel of international academic experts; this is why it is called a study.
The panel of seven internationally respected academic experts on homophobia in sport, from six universities, oversaw and was closely involved in the study from start to finish. This include contributing to and reviewing the study design, questions asked and data collection methods used. The expert panel then contributed to and/or oversaw the analysis of the final data. Each panel member provided significant input into the final report (which was collated and compiled by two volunteer writers, including a former multi-award winning journalist). Prior to release, the final report was then reviewed, amended and then approved by the entire expert panel.
Who Commissioned the Study?
The study was commissioned and conducted on behalf of an international coalition of LGBT sporting groups in partnership with the Australian Federal Government. Every person and organisation involved donated their time, resources and services to make the study possible. The study was initially conceptualised, and the coalition was formed to conduct and manage the study, by members of the Sydney Convicts Rugby Union Club, in the lead-up to the club hosting the Bingham Cup, in Sydney, in 2014 (the world cup of gay rugby).