An international survey has revealed the real rate of homophobia in sport, with eighty-five per cent of gay sportspeople saying they have experienced or witnessed homophobia firsthand.
The first international study of its kind, Out on the Fields found that nearly half of lesbian and gay respondents had been the target of bullying, violence, threats or exclusion in sport.
Respondents reported thirteen per cent of these attacks as physical assaults and eighty-two per cent as as verbal attacks, involving slurs such as “fag”, “poofter” or “dyke”.
The survey also found that gay men were more likely to face abuse and prejudice than gay women.
Initiated by organisers of Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 – the world cup of gay rugby – and sponsored by the Australian Sports Commission, the survey included nearly 2500 people aged 15 and up.
The issue of homophobia in sport has come to the forefront in the last week after Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe came out on national television.
“Until we create a more inclusive sporting environment, people will feel forced to stay in the closet until their careers are over,” Jason Ball, an openly gay Australian Rules Football player, told The Age.