. (Parent A, Family 6, United States) The collective evidence points to the need for sport organizations to understand the sometimes, arguably, hostile environments for athletes, coaches, and employees of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identities (e.g., Carless, 2012 ; Cunningham
Brenda A. Riemer
This study is an examination of the identity formation of lesbians in sport and how lesbians interpreted the softball environment with regard to social support and the ability to be open about their lesbianism. Twenty four women on summer slow pitch softball teams, and 5 spectators, participated in qualitative interviews. Responses were consistent with a model of lesbian identity formation that included preconformist, conformist, post-conformist, lesbian conformist, and lesbian post-conformist levels. The support these women received from softball players helped them to come out to others and to enter the lesbian community.
This study is an examination of homonegativism in sport as described by lesbian collegiate athletes. These athletes (N = 12) participated in semi-structured interviews about their athletic experiences. Analysis of the homonegtive experiences of these athletes revealed three mechanisms inherent in homonegativism in sport. These were (a) discomfort with females who do not conform with the traditional feminine gender-role, (b) application of the lesbian label, and (c) distancing from the lesbian label. Female athletes perceived to act in a manner contrary to traditional gender-roles are labeled as lesbians. Through this labeling society reinforces traditional gender-roles and, ultimately, protects male dominance in sport. Many of the labels heard by the athletes reflected stereotypical beliefs about lesbians. The athletes described many situations where coaches and administrators attempted to promote or preserve a feminine image within their athletic teams and programs. The disempowering aspects of homonegativism also were revealed as lesbian athletes felt powerless to challenge homonegativism in sport.
The purpose of this paper is to lay a conceptual foundation for understanding and studying lesbians in sport. To begin to understand lesbians in sport, it is necessary to critically examine the socialization process. Lesbians are socialized within a homonegative and heterosexist society, where they learn homonegative attitudes. The sport environment is even more hostile toward lesbians, thus escalating the negative impact of homonegativism experienced by lesbians in sport compared to nonsport lesbians. These reactions to homonegativism will be manifested through individuals’ mental states (e.g., low self-esteem, low confidence, low satisfaction, high stress) or behaviors (e.g., poor sport performance, substance abuse). However, through exposure to positive social support and successful role models, a positive lesbian identity will be developed. The goals of this framework are to consolidate previous empirical literature about lesbians and apply it to sport and to encourage further conceptualization about lesbians in sport.
Danielle R. Brittain, Nancy C. Gyurcsik and Mary McElroy
Despite the health benefits derived from regular participation in moderate physical activity, the majority of adult lesbians are not physically active. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between moderate physical activity and the perceived presence and extent of limitation of 30 general and 10 lesbian-specific barriers. The participants were 516 self-identified adult lesbians who completed a web-based survey. Compared to physically active participants, participants who were insufficiently active reported more general barriers and a significantly higher extent of limitation of general and lesbian-specific barriers overall. Insufficiently active participants also differed in the perceived presence of one of the five most frequently experienced barriers and in the extent of limitation of three of those five barriers. The study’s findings suggest that the impact of barriers may be alleviated through the use of appropriately tailored strategies to help lesbians cope with them. Future research should further examine whether lesbians experience additional population-specific barriers.
George Cunningham and E. Nicole Melton
The purpose of this study was to examine parents’ supportive attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) coaches, as well as the sources of that support. The authors drew from the model of dual attitudes and a multilevel framework developed for the study to guide the analyses. Interviews were conducted with 10 parents who lived in the southwest United States. Analysis of the data revealed three different types of support: indifference, qualified support, and unequivocal support. Further analyses provided evidence of multilevel factors affecting the support, including those at the macro-level (religion), the meso-level (parental influences and contact with sexual minorities), and the micro-level (affective and cognitive influences) of analysis. Theoretical implications and contributions of the study are discussed.
Jonathan Robertson, Ryan Storr, Andrew Bakos and Danny O’Brien
Although attitudes toward the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals (LGBT) are arguably improving in Australian society, substantial prejudice has influenced and continues to influence the equitable access to rights for sexual minorities that the majority of the
Helen Jefferson Lenskyj
In the following discussion, I will critically review selected research on lesbians in sport and physical education. This is not intended as a comprehensive coverage of every publication on the issue, but rather an overview of trends in research and literature since the 1970s.1 I will begin by examining how the broader issues of gender and sexuality have been taken up in sport literature, and then turn to work that focuses on lesbians’ experiences of homophobia and heterosexism in sport, historically and in the last two decades. A discussion of physical education will follow, and finally, literature on softball will be reviewed as a case study of a sport that is arguably more successful than most in celebrating a lesbian presence.
Brenda G. Pitts
The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an emerging lesbian sports industry. Definitions and indicators of industry and sport industry were used to analyze existing data from a current on-going study. Based upon the results there is abundant evidence that: there is a wide variety of lesbian sports products, there is horizontal growth as well as vertical growth, there are existing and potential lesbian sports buyers, there are correlated indicators, and there is recognition of value. The conclusion is that there is an emerging lesbian sports industry.
Megan Chawansky and Jessica Margaret Francombe
This paper explores issues of sport, sponsorship, and consumption by critically interrogating the mass-mediated “coming out” narratives of professional golfer, Rosie Jones, and professional basketball player, Sheryl Swoopes. Both athletes came out publicly as gay in light of endorsements received by Olivia Cruises and Resorts—a company that serves lesbian travelers—thus marking a significant shift in the relationship between lesbian subjectivity, sport, and sponsorship. A concern with a neoliberal-infused GLBT politics underscores our analysis, and a close reading of these narratives raises complex questions about the corporatization of coming out and the existence of lesbian celebrity in sport.