Homophobia and Heterosexism in Women’s Sport and Physical Education: A Review

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 Department of Kinesiology University of Illinois, Urbana IL 61801
  • | 2 Department of Community Health University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
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This review of the extant literature suggests that the examination of homophobia, heterosexism and gay/lesbian identities in sport remains a topic of analysis for very few scholars. In addition, there may be debate whether articles relative to masculinity and femininity, traditional gender role constructions, gender relations and the social construction of sport and sport as masculine culture should be included. Despite the narrowness or breadth of topics considered, homophobia, a weapon of sexism and hegemonic masculinity (and femininity) becomes a powerful resistance to patriarchy and male domination. The review begins with definitions of homophobia and moves to research and discussions that focus more directly on homophobia in sport and physical education. To present the breadth of topics that could be considered, additional sections include articles dealing with lesbianism in sport, heterosexism in sport, and a brief overview of homophobia in the popular press. Lack of theoretical frameworks, applications of theory and insufficient impirical evidence contribute to an uneveness in the literature and make it difficult to draw specific conclusions.

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