Contextualizing Homophobic Language in Sport

Authored by: Mark McCormack

Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415522533
eBook ISBN: 9780203121375
Adobe ISBN: 9781136326967


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Throughout the 1990s, men’s sports—particularly men’s team sports—were characterised by high levels of homophobia. Researchers who examined the relationship between gay men and sport largely agreed that organized sport existed as a hostile environment for gay men (Pronger, 1990). However, cultural attitudes have undergone significant transformation in recent years, both outside (McCormack, 2012a) and inside (Anderson, 2011b) sport. Supporting this argument, research documents a remarkable change in the attitudes of fans toward gay players in football (Cashmore and Cleland, 2012; Magrath, 2012) and improved attitudes of heterosexual athletes toward gay men in sport (Anderson and McGuire, 2010), as well as improving experiences of openly gay male athletes (Anderson, 2011a, 2011b).

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