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Homophobia in Sports: History and Factors Report

Background information

Modern society is fraught with instances where individuals face rejection and discrimination on account of their sexual orientation. Such occurrences are evident in diverse areas of engagement in societal contexts (Gilbert 17). This reality has necessitated discourse in regard to homophobia in sports. Despite the existence of regulations that discourage discrimination based on individual sexual inclination, research shows that such cases are rampant within the sporting and recreation sector. The sporting fraternity has taken measures that seek to eliminate the vice because it portends negative implications on the sustenance and propagation of equality in sports (Gilbert 18).

For instance, enthusiasts and fans are required to avoid making comments and intonations that target players at games owing to their real or imagined status in regard to sexual preferences. Despite the initiation and enactment of the aforementioned measures, it is regrettable that homophobia is still alive within the sporting fraternity. In fact, homophobia is widespread and entrenched at all levels of sports, including the management. There are instances where players and even administrators face rejection and segregation based on their sexual orientation (Gilbert 23).

History of homophobia in sports

As earlier mentioned, homophobia in sports is widespread in contemporary society. The vice has persisted despite numerous institutional and administrative efforts that gear towards its eradication. It is important to note that there are several individuals in the sporting fraternity who have taken it upon themselves to fight the vice through diverse approaches. For instance, athletes have demonstrated the willingness to pursue the issue of homophobia in sports (Gilbert 27). Examples include Sheryl Swoopes, Billie Jean King, and Billy Bean. The most notable attempt to rationalize homosexuality in sports came to the fore when Tom Waddell organized the inaugural edition of Gay Games in San Francisco. This was a momentous occasion because it offered a platform for homosexual athletes to relay their concerns and showcase talent (Gilbert 31).

It also created the requisite impetus to sensitize the public on the need to eradicate patterns of behavior that vilify homosexual athletes. The historical significance of such effort is the realization that homosexual athletes are not inferior to their heterosexual contemporaries. The event also offered an opportunity for society to re-evaluate its stand regarding discrimination on account of sexual orientation and preference (Gilbert 33).

Predisposing factors for homophobia in sports

Due to the recurrent propagation of homophobia in sports, social scientists have endeavored to conduct studies with a view to establishing the underlying circumstances that predispose individuals to homophobic tendencies. Sociologists attribute the prevalence of homophobia in sports to the recurrent patterns of socialization in the sporting fraternity (Gilbert 37). Such studies have pointed to the issue of Heteronormativity, which propagates heterosexuality as the ideal and acceptable orientation among individuals in sports. Heteronormativity is evident even among sports departments in high school. An individual who graduates to professional sports continues to harbor such ideologies that are detrimental to the fight against homophobia in sports (Gilbert 38).

The existence of homophobia in modern society makes it an ideal even in the sporting fraternity. This is not unusual because individuals in sports are products of a social entity that propagates discrimination based on sexual preference. The intolerance against homosexuals in sports has been cited as a major cause of the unwillingness by athletes to expose their sexual orientation. They are apprehensive of doing so because it could potentially undermine their professional careers in sports. In extreme cases, such disclosure could predispose them to segregation and other forms of discriminatory tendencies (Gilbert 42).

Conclusion and recommendations

It is evident that homophobia is a recurrent challenge within the sporting fraternity in modern society. Its sustenance and propagation are accentuated by social beliefs and attitudes that are entrenched among individuals in society. There are complexities that characterize the issue of homophobia in sports. An example is the unwillingness of sports administrators to combat the vice (Gilbert 43).

This is evidenced by the lack of elaborate structural frameworks that offer guidance on the eradication of homophobia in sports. Even in cases where laws exist, the goodwill towards their implementation and propagation is unsatisfactory. There is a need for sensitization on the issue of homophobia and how it affects cohesion and progress in regard to societal engagements. People must accept the fact that it is untenable for anyone to define people based on their sexual preference (Gilbert 45).

Through such efforts, society can adopt a regime that gives preference to talent and competencies as opposed to superficial considerations such as sexual orientation. In order to achieve the above objectives, there is a need for a paradigm shift in terms of how society treats its members. The sporting fraternity must first appreciate the existence of the problem and then devise the necessary steps to curtail its sustenance and propagation (Gilbert 52).

In the absence of such efforts, it will be impossible for industry stakeholders to combat the vice, which continues to bring disrepute to sports in modern society. Besides the aforementioned institutional efforts, there is a need for cooperation among individuals in the general societal entity. Devoid of a proper approach to the challenge of homophobia in sports, society will continue to abet a practice that is detrimental and unacceptable in a rapidly changing world. Indeed, homophobia in sports is uncivilized, and it also negates the need to promote talent and integration through sports (Gilbert 53).

Works Cited

Gilbert, Keith. Sexuality, Sport and the Culture of Risk, Volume 6. Newyork: Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 2005. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Homophobia in Sports: History and Factors'. 11 June.

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