Rugby star Adam Ashley-Cooper gets behind efforts to tackle homophobia in sport
NSW Waratah’s Adam Ashley-Cooper says the launch of a study looking into homophobia in sport is timely and long-overdue.
“It’s a really good idea to get a grasp on the verbal abuse that’s happening in Australian sport,” he said.
“It’s certainly happening out there in sport today so it will be interesting to see what the results are.”
Launched last week, 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.
It is being spearheaded by organisers of the Bingham Cup Sydney in tandem with the Sydney Convicts, who have brought together a team of experts to collect and analyse the data.
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.
Above: Adam Ashley-Cooper with members from the Sydney Convicts. Photo: Reg Domingo
“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,” said Dr. Caroline Symons from Melbourne’s Victoria University.
“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.”
Other universities involved in the study are from Victoria University (Melbourne), Pennsylvania State University, University of Massachusetts, Laval University (Canada), University of Winnipeg (Canada) and Brunel University (London).
Bingham Cup Sydney President Andrew Purchas said the study will finally provide a clearer picture of homophobia 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.
The study is open to all people regardless of sexuality.