This paper presents findings from an ethnographic study of a UK-based amateur rugby union club for gay and bisexual men. Positioning the club at the centre of the research, heterosexist definitions of sport are analysed with regard to their effect on the lives of players and the continued existence of the club itself. The standpoint of team members in relation to dominant hegemonic forces in sport is explored through an examination of the sexual politics of the club and the possibility for iterative challenges to gender norms within this particular sporting context. The central findings indicate that the club inadvertently promoted a liberal image towards dominant heterosexual sporting norms and, in this sense, co-opted into mainstream rugby culture.
The authors are with the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.