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Homophobia in sports

Lauryn Newton, Reporter

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If a person is involved in a sport that they truly love playing, they should be able to be themselves and not have to fear being judged by their peers.

Homophobia is an issue in sports that is not addressed as often as topics such as racism.

This is not an issue that has just shriveled up and died.

According to a report on homophobia in sports published by the Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee, there are many UK sports players that are gay and have been scolded for it.

Yet you never see anything in the news about things being done to prevent homophobia in sports.

Why is it that there is still an issue of things such as homophobia in sports?

Why are there men and women still being bullied for their sexual orientation?

This conflict not only influences a child or adults’ physical health because they feel like they shouldn’t participate but also their mental health.

An individual can be seriously affected by homophobia, no matter how old or young they are. Yet people don’t take this into consideration.

To me, homophobia is the equivalent of both racism and bigotry.

My question still remains: why is it that we never hear about the issues of the topic?

Why is nothing being done?

In that same report, it says that more should be done to support sports players who want to come out.

These people are most likely afraid to come out because of the fear of being bashed by fellow team players, fans and loved ones for their decision.

According to the multi-national study called “Out on the Fields”, out of a survey taken by 9,500 Americans, 84 percent of them say they have witnessed homophobia in a sport that they played.

Showing one’s true colors can be difficult, and everyone can probably relate to this.

Expressing yourself and showing who you are on this level is very tough.

Individuals can be affected critically from homophobic people verbally abusing or harassing them, but this should be no surprise to anyone.

So there should be more effort being put in to stop this.

I am aware that people don’t come out because of the fear of being bullied, isolated or discriminated.

However, no one should have to go through this struggle of hiding who they truly are to protect themselves from the cruel ways of homophobes in the sports community.

In 2007, NBA player John Amaechi openly came out and received backlash from fellow teammate Tim Hardaway.

His teammate explained that he did not want him on the team, in the locker rooms or around other team members because he was a “distraction” and apparently people couldn’t concentrate with him around.

This verbal abuse should not be accepted in a sport, or even anywhere.  

A person shouldn’t be singled out or isolated because of their sexual preference.

People who are involved in a sport should have the choice of having a safe environment to truly be themselves and also have people supporting them with their decision about their sexual orientation.

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Homophobia in sports