More focus needed to tackle homophobia in team sports

Serious work and focus is needed in New Zealand to help combat homophobia in team sports.

According to the “Out in the Fields” study, which is the first international study on homophobia in sports, 71 % of participants in the research believe youth team sports are not supportive or safe for lesbian, gay or bisexual people.

Almost 9500 people of all sexualities took part in the study which included 631 gay, lesbian, bisexuals and heterosexual New Zealanders.

According to the study, kiwi gay and bisexual men were more likely to experience discrimination and hide their sexuality than gay and bisexual women. It also highlighted problems in team sports and school physical educational classes.

Labour’s Associate Sport and Recreation spokesperson, Louisa Wall says, “New Zealand rugby must take the recommendations of the study to address homophobia in sport on board”

She says the report,“reveals bullying from teammates and discrimination from coaches and officials is widespread and often leads to players dropping out of team sports.”

Ms Wall says, “If the administrators of New Zealand Rugby can't see or won't recognize we have a problem based on the findings of this study then there is a deficit in leadership. New Zealand codes could easily replicate what their Australian counterparts have done.”