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Study into homophobia in sport a world-first

Study into homophobia in sport a world-first

LAST UPDATED // Thursday, 15 May 2014 12:09 Written by // Ron Hughes

Organisers of the Bingham Cup in tandem with the Sydney Convicts rugby club have brought together a team of experts to launch the first international study on homophobia in sport.

The study “Out on the Fields” will examine a wide-variety of areas, including how often athletes witness or experience homophobic slurs, jokes and bullying such as the slur heard during the recent U-20 NRL State of Origin match, which resulted in a two match suspension for young West Tigers player Mitchell Moses.

Globally respected experts from six universities are donating their time to act as advisors and reviewers for the study, the first of its kind in the world.

The seven researchers involved are from Victoria University (Melbourne), Pennsylvania State University, University of Massachusetts, Laval University (Canada), University of Winnipeg (Canada) and Brunel University (London).

The actual data is being collected and managed at no cost by the global sports market research firm, Repucom.

The researchers have reviewed the study questions/approach and will review the raw data, analysis and final report supplied by Repucom.

“Australians are playing an important international role in helping to end homophobia in sport by shining a light on how often gay, lesbian and bisexual people face discrimination, particularly in team sports," Dr. Caroline Symons from Melbourne’s Victoria University said.

"This study will help determine how often people witness or experience homophobia, how many stay in the closet and which team sporting environments are the least welcoming for same-sex attracted people.

"The research will also help us compare Australia’s sporting culture with other countries, which will help us identify which countries are doing the best work in this area.”

VIDEO: David Pocock urging people to take part in the study

Rugby Union star David Pocock urged people to participate in the study.

“I think it’s really important that we find out just how prevalent prejudice against people with different sexual orientations is in sport, so that we can begin challenging it at all levels of sport from when kids are starting out right up to professional levels," Pocock said.

"I hope people take part in this study so that we do have some concrete evidence and stories of people’s experiences,”

Founder of the Sydney Convicts Andrew Purchas said team members were often asked how prevalent homophobic bullying and abuse is in sport.

“It’s absolutely critical that we move beyond the many stories and anecdotes about homophobia in sport and collect some solid international statistics to help us understand the full extent of the problem," Purchas said.

"We are thrilled that a wide-range of experts, sporting stars, sporting officials and others have volunteered their time to make this study possible.”

The study is open to all people regardless of sexuality, though people identifying as same-sex attracted will be asked a set of unique questions.

The Australian Sports Commission and the US-based anti-homophobia sports charity You Can Play Project will help recruit participants.

Those wishing to take part can visit

The results from “Out on the Fields” will be released in advance of the Bingham Cup, being held in Sydney at the end of August.

VIDEO: Adam Ashley-Cooper urging people to take part in the study


Ron Hughes

Ron Hughes

Ron Hughes is the editor of SA's only LGBTI magazine, blaze.

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