A new study carried taking into account the UK, US and Australia has revealed that four out of five gay athletes have encountered homophobia in sport.
Out on the Fields, the largest study of its kind, discovered that the most common form of homophobia was verbal abuse, with 82 per cent saying they had been the target of or overheard such slurs as “fag”, “dyke” or “poofter”, with 13 per cent claiming to have suffered physical attacks.
The study involved 2,500 people at all levels of sport and was split evenly between gay and straight people above the age of 15. The research was commissioned by the organisers of the Bingham Cup (the Gay Rugby World Cup), which is to be held in Sydney, Australia next month.
Notably, gay men were found to be targeted more commonly than lesbians, while one in four straight men had been the target of homophobia.
The study, which was supported by retired gay rugby player Gareth Thomas as well as rising rugby stars the Burgess brothers, comes in the days following controversial comments made by AFL host Brian Taylor name-called Harry Taylor “a big poofter” live on Saturday night’s pre-game broadcast.
Australian Rules first openly gay footballer, Jason Ball, commented on the findings, “To all of the people who thought that Brian Taylor’s comments weren’t a big deal, this research shows that homophobic language has a profound impact on our sporting culture”.
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