Introduction

Here is an introduction video about the significance of homophobia in sports:

How can we, ourselves, put an end to homophobia in professional sports?

Gay and lesbian people are all around us, whether it be in the workplace, schools, and specifically, major league sports. Homophobic environments still become a growing concern in society today as the issue continues to prevail in professional sports. This ideology began in high-profile sports such as the NBA and NFL. Male athletes typically were supposed to express a "macho heterosexual identity" (Sport and Gender in Canada, 182) and asserted themselves in dominant ways. For instance, heterosexual men must show their masculinity towards their teammates and their sexual desire for women. Therefore, if a player were to be gay, it would cause an uncomfortable and distracting environment. Coaches, athletic directors and players have become aware of the double standard and homophobia that exist in the heterosexual world.

Michael Sam is an inspiring and influential athlete as he is the first NFL player to publicly come out as gay before the 2014 NFL Draft. Do you think he can change the sport's mindset on openly gay players? Watch the video below to find out.

Homophobia plays a vital role as it has a great impact toward an athlete's aspect of life such as their professional career, family and interaction with the team. However in most cases, heterosexual players on teams that have gay players don't seem to mind if there is a gay player on their team. At the end of the day, they just want to win. If players can behave in a professional manner and avoid using verbal assault such as taunts and threats, then having a homosexual athlete on their team will not be a distraction.

Another influential and inspiring athlete came out of the closet in early spring 2013. He is 36-year-old NBA center Jason Collins. Collins was a veteran NBA basketball player who constantly hopped around from team to team hoping to impress the coaches enough to make a final roster. He rarely stayed on a team as he waited for the right time to announce his decision to become the first openly gay athlete of NBA history. Collins had a few reasons coming out such as he had grown tired of living in a lie of secrecy for many years and couldn't attend Boston's 2012 Gay Pride Parade with his former roommate. Coming out was an opportunity to make a difference in society and inevitably help entice support to other professional athletes whom have yet to announce their sexuality. He had an overwhelming sense of relief as his family fully supported him as well as his twin brother, Jarron Collins. Collins' openly confession about his homosexuality altered his life forever. He had a major stepping point for not only athletes who may be in fear of what fans and colleagues may think of them but also young men and women who finally had the confidence to proudly pronounce their sexual orientation. Collins averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds a game in a twelve year tenure and in many ways he is a superstar athlete achieving such incredible performances. Jason Collins' decision influenced many individuals who may still be stuck in the closet, but nobody will ever forget what he did for himself, and so many others in his same position.

In conclusion, out-of-the-closet athletes have influenced and inspired so many people to do the same in the form of coming out. To resolve the issue of preventing homophobia in sports, coaches and athletes need to realize and accept sexual diversity amongst the team. This will show a great feeling of comfort and a better environment for all. Numerous homosexual and heterosexual athletes have all spoken out about inequality that exist in sports, so raise awareness of the sexual diversity around us. People around the world can help and support by hosting World Out Games/Gay Games as it can bring people together from different places across the globe and foster the self-respect of homosexual athletes throughout the world.

Inquiry Video

Glossary

Homophobia: unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

Coming Out: an acknowledgement of one's homosexuality, either to oneself or publicly.

Homosexuality: sexual desire or behaviour directed toward a person or persons of one's own sex.

(Dictionary.com)

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