Homophobia Drives Kids From Sports

A new report sheds light on what it means to be LGBT in athletics

Photo by Think Stock

It turns out bullying in sports not only creates problems for students on the high school level – but also in colleges and universities. A new report sheds light on what it means to be LGBT in athletics – and why being discriminated against on the court, field, track or rink makes many young people give up sports entirely.

The National Union of Students says that only a third of LGBT students at the university level participate in a team sport. And almost 40 percent of these athletes say they are not out to their teammates for fear of homophobia, transphobia and outright bullying.

And for those LGBT students who don’t join teams, almost half admit that they find the sports world to be “unwelcoming,” with just as many saying they’ve suffered negative experiences that have made them want to give up sports entirely.

Homophobic taunts and hazing have been cited as some of the biggest obstacles for both gay and straight athletes alike. “It is easier to get through a day/its activities without the fear of physical retaliation or verbal name calling,” said one gay man who responded to the survey.

Transgender athletes also say they have been bullied on a regular basis, often facing criticism about whether they should even be able to compete on certain teams based on their gender.

Do you have a story you’d like to share about being out in sports? Tell us about it.

Or sign up with GO Athletes! to find out how to come out to your team, and how you can create educational programs at your school.