Watch: Michael Sam lends support to Out on the Fields
Ahead of the Gay Games, out athlete Michael Sam has joined sports stars such as Sarah Walsh and the Burgess Brothers to call for an end to homophobia in sports.
Sam’s has added his voice to a shout out for participants to the international survey, ‘Out in the Fields’ which studies the impact of homophobia in sports.
The study is the first of its kind and will collect and compare national data about discrimination in Australia as well as other major, English speaking countries. This will help researchers determine both the extent of the problem internationally as well as which countries are doing the best job at creating sports cultures that are welcoming and safe to gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
“Australians have been extremely supportive of this research with over 2500 taking part. It has been slightly more challenging to recruit participants in other countries, ,” said Andrew Purchas, President of the Bingham Cup (also known as the Gay Rugby World Cup, which takes place in Sydney later this month).
“We are asking people to help by sharing this great video on social media and by encouraging friends overseas to spend 10 minutes to take part in this very important study. The release of the survey’s preliminary Australian results last month was extremely powerful. We are confident this will be repeated around the world if we are able to increase survey participation rates in the United States, Canada and the UK.”
Watch Sam’s message
Organisers of the Bingham Cup, commissioned sports research firm Repucom to conduct the study, which is being done pro bono in consultation with researchers from six universities. Partners include The Federation of Gay Games, The Sydney Convicts, American anti-homophobia organisation You Can Play Project, the Australian Sports Commission and the International Gay Rugby Association and Board. Preliminary results were released last month with the complete results released later this year.
“We are supporting this historic study because it has the potential to help provide a much clearer understanding of the extent and nature of homophobia in sports. Since Gay Games I in 1982, the Gay Games have been a tool against homophobia in sport. Recent high-profile coming outs should not hide how endemic the problem remains on the whole,” said Les Johnson, Vice-President of Membership of the Federation of Gay Games.
“Everyone has had a unique experience, which is why it is essential that we encourage a large number of LGBT people to share their stories, whether or not they themselves have played sports or experienced discrimination,” said Johnson.
The study is open to everyone, regardless of sexuality or whether they have played sports. It takes around 10 minutes to complete online through www.outonthefields.com