Bells will begin ringing any day now, as high schools and colleges across the country head back into session. Football, field hockey, basketball, and cross country seasons will soon get started, and LGB athletes are more likely than not to experience discrimination from their peers, from spectators, and even from coaches and officials. And according to a recent survey, American athletes have it worse in many ways than their Canadian, British, and Australian counterparts.
Out on the Field calls itself the first international study on homophobia in sport, and the report was written by two members of the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby team. Nearly 9,500 athletes from six English speaking countries were surveyed, including man and women who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight.
While a majority of gay men (83 percent) and lesbians (63 percent) remain in the closet to their teammates, roughly half of gay and lesbian athletes feel personally targeted for their sexual orientation.
Even straight men feel targeted for being gay, with a full third of straight male athletes finding themselves on the receiving end of homophobic slurs and taunts. Worse, five out of six survey participants believe that an openly gay person would not be safe as a spectator at a sporting event. Not even as a player, mind you. Just as someone sitting in the bleachers.
The full 77-page report can be seen in PDF form here.