A major survey of over 5,000 LGBTQ people across Europe provides us with unique insights into the experience of queer sportspeople.
The survey, conducted within the framework of the Erasmus + Outsport project, includes data from respondents across all 28 countries of the EU. The average age of respondents is 27.
“We are proud of this work and we are sure that the results are fundamental for policies to combat anti-LGBTI attitudes in sport both at European and national level” says Rosario Coco, Outsport coordinator. Sentiments supported by project coordinator Klaus Heusslein.
The key findings of the report are:
Homophobia is still an issue.
Almost 90% consider homophobia and particularly transphobia in sport a current problem.
Homophobia prevents participation
20% refrain from participating in a sport of interest due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This is most frequently the case for trans people (54%) and refers predominantly to football/soccer, dancing, swimming, and boxing.
Homophobia prevents authentic participation
One third of respondents who are active in sports have not revealed their sexual orientation or gender identity respectively to anybody in the sporting environment. This percentage is higher in Italy (41%) and Hungary (45%).
LGBTQ people experience homophobia in sport
16% of respondents who are currently active in any sports have had at least one negative personal experience in the last 12 months that was related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The share is higher among trans people – especially among trans women (46%).
Homophobia comes in many forms
Of those with negative experiences, verbal insults (82%) and structural discrimination (i.e. unequal opportunities) (75%) are the most common forms of homo-/transphobic incidents that were indicated. Verbal threats (44%), e-bullying (40%), physically “crossing the line” (i.e. being shoved and/or pushed) (36%) and physical violence (20%) are also common experiences.
Help is not always available to LGBTQ sportspeople
More than a third of respondents do not know an organisation or individual to contact in instances of being discriminated against in a sports context.
How to tackle homophobia in sport
The three actions that respondents reported would be most helpful to tackle homo-/transphobic discrimination in the field of sport are (a) famous sports stars coming out, (b) high profile anti-homophobia/transphobia campaigns and (c) diversity training.