Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sports and Homosexuality
Sports are an important vehicle for the transmission of dominant values and systems of privilege, particularly those built upon race, class, gender, and sexuality inequality. One of the many ways this is accomplished is through the erasure of homosexuality from sport and sports culture. In both men's and women's sports, homosexuality is routinely sanctioned and silenced, such that the number of “out” collegiate and professional gay athletes remains markedly low, even as homosexuality becomes less stigmatized in other social arenas. For men, sports are often used as a way of fortifying masculinity and asserting male dominance. Open homosexuality is perceived as a threat to these social accomplishments and is thus suppressed. In women's sports, homophobia coincides with a history of gender discrimination in sports to create a hostile environment for lesbian athletes. Despite the oppressively heterosexist environment that sport engenders, a number of athletes and activists have begun to challenge ...