Transforming the Silence on Lesbians in Sport: Suggested Directions for Theory and Research in Sport Psychology

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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The provocative and dynamic interrelationships between the social organization of sport, sexual orientation of women participants, and their concomitant perceptions and behavior represent a fertile area for social psychological research. Sport psychologists have largely avoided, through scholarly discourse, examining lesbianism in sport thereby perpetuating “the silence so loud that it screams.” The purpose of this paper is to identify the harmful intellectual and social consequences of this silence and to advance suggestions for future research directions based on emerging epistemology and theory. It is argued that if the silence is broken using depoliticized functionalist approaches such as sex-role identification and liberal humanism, this will only exacerbate the homophobia and heterosexism that hinders our intellectual pursuit of knowledge in this area and reify the heteropatricarchal oppression of lesbians participating in sport. The rigid socially-constructed isomorphism between sport and masculinity coupled with the social stigma of lesbianism within sport may only be transformed via a paradigmatic shift from traditional functionalism toward a social constructionist approach.

Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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