2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Connor MacDonald MacDonald

University of Calgary
Sport in the Lives of LGBTQ Calgarians
Sport in the Lives of LGBTQ Calgarians
The goal of this honours thesis research was to investigate the role that sport played in the lives of LGBTQ Calgarians (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) in the latter decades of the 20th century. Three gay men who resided in Calgary in the 1980s and 90s participated in oral history semi-structured interviews lasting ~3 hours in length. The transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis and then a Foucauldian discourse analysis was completed. While many ideas emerged in these in-depth conversations, emergent themes included the important place sport had in building community and creating safe space, in particular given the emergence of LGBTQ sport-specific clubs and teams in the 1980s onward in a province constructed as “hyper-conservative”. At the same time, these sporting spaces also reaffirmed dominant sport discourse such as a focus on performance and competition, which was seen as exclusionary. While these sporting spaces were constructed as a space welcoming to persons living with HIV and AIDS, ideas of health connected to individual responsibility, body image, and masculinity also emerged. The findings highlight the complexity of so-called “categorical” sporting spaces and the paradoxical role sport has played in the lives of many LGBTQ persons and communities in Canada.