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14 Things You Should Know About Homophobia And Sport In Australia

Eight in ten gay people have been called "faggot" or "dyke" on the field.

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The first international study on homophobia in sport has found 70% of Australians think youth sports teams are an unsafe place for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

The Out on the Fields study of over 3000 Australians found a significant number of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people fear homophobia and discrimination on the sporting field.

The study also found that 80% of Australians believe LGB athletes are either not accepted or only moderately accepted in sporting culture.

Out gay rugby player Andrew Purchas said he was "alarmed and surprised" by the extent of homophobia in sport uncovered by the study.

"The findings were much worse than we expected, particularly in youth sport," he said. "Compared to other countries, gay men in Australia were the least likely to feel welcome in sporting culture."

Alex Blackwell, an out lesbian cricket champion, called for more training and resources for coaches, officials and teachers.

"It was disappointing for me to see that a fear of being bullied as well as a fear of discrimination from coaches and officials is keeping so many lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in the closest," she said.

"We must find ways to end homophobic behaviour and also ensure coaches, officials and teachers have the training and resources to be positive role models for all players on a team regardless of sexuality."

Here are some of the findings.

1. A majority of gay and lesbian youth play sport.

Stefan Postles / Getty Images

Ninety percent of all Australian lesbians play sport in their youth, with the numbers only dropping slightly to 86% in adulthood. However, while 78% of young gay men play sport, only 49% of adults do the same.

2. However, one in five gay men did not play team sports in their youth.

Reasons given for this were bad experiences in school PE lessons, and the fear they would be rejected by teammates for being gay.

3. Forty-five percent of all people surveyed – and 57% of gay men – felt that LGB people were not accepted in sporting culture.

5. And three quarters of Australians don't think the spectator stands are a very safe place for LGB people in terms of experiencing homophobia.

6. Eight in ten people, both straight and LGB, said they had witnessed homophobia on the field.

7. And half of all gay men and lesbians had experienced homophobia in various forms.

9. About a third of all gay men and one in five lesbians had been bullied.

10. And the vast majority of both lesbians (84%) and gay men (85%) had endured slurs such as "faggot" or "dyke".

12. Over half of all young gay people said they were scared they'd be bullied if they came out in their sporting team.

13. And 37% were worried about discrimination from coaches and officials.

14. In response, many young people hide their sexuality on and off the field.

Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

87% of gay men and 75% of lesbians said they hid their sexuality from some or all of their teammates.

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