Homophobia in Sport and the experiences of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People in Sport
Out on the Fields is the largest and the first international study conducted into homophobia in sport. It also is the first to take an in-depth look at the experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, including athletes, in sporting culture. The research captures both the experiences (eg. rates of participation, discrimination) as well as the perceptions (eg. safety, acceptance).
Recent research based on American (CDC) and Canadian government data has found LGB youth play sport at up to half the rate of their heterosexual peers.
The final Out on the Fields report focuses on the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. The results were released in 2015.
About the Study Data
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). The study methodology can be found here.
Nearly 9500 people participated (9494), primarily from English speaking countries. Participants came from a wide range of ages, income, educational and sexuality backgrounds including around 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). Links to some of this research can be found on the 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 made 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 Nielsen Sport (formerly Repucom), the international sports market research firm, which collected and collated the data pro bono and assisted the authors and expert panel with analysis.
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 the panel of academic experts; this is why it is called a study.
This expert panel of seven respected researchers 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. The expert panel then contributed to and/or oversaw the analysis of the final data. For detailed information on this please see the methodology page.
Who Commissioned the Study?
The study was initiated, and conceptulised, by members of the organising committee of Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, the world cup of gay rugby, and members of the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union club. The study was then conducted on behalf of an international coalition of LGBT sporting groups in partnership with the Australian Federal Government.
For the purpose of references please use:
Denison E, Kitchen A. (2015). Out on the Fields: The first international study on homophobia in sport. Nielsen, Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, Australian Sports Commission, Federation of Gay Games. Accessed through: www.outonthefields.com