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

Katrina Pariera

George Washington University
Now That They’re Out: experiences of openly LGBQ players and their teammates

Using survey methodology we examine the experience of ‘out’ collegiate LGBQ athletes, and those who have played with them, in order to better understand the actualized experience of LGBQ athletes. The final sample (N = 259) consisted of 70 LGBQ athletes and 189 non-LGBQ athletes – all of whom played a collegiate sport at a 4-year university in the past 10 years.

Our initial findings show that although concerns about being or playing with an LGBQ athlete, the frequency of hearing homophobic language, and/or experiences of prejudice were low, there were still fears related to discrimination, occurrences of bias, and barriers to inclusion that LGBQ athletes still need to navigate.  Furthermore, we found important gendered differences between the experiences of male and female identified athletes.

This study begins to lay the groundwork for better understanding the lived realities of what it means to be an openly LGBQ collegiate athlete.  In particular, we argue that our findings represent how an attention to heteronormativity and implicit bias, as opposed to homophobia and explicit bias, might facilitate a useful reframing of the approach scholars take towards understanding the experience of LGBQ athletes in modern American culture.