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Australian sport study highlights homophobia fears

By Ryan Love

Homophobia in sport in Australia has come under the spotlight, after the results of a new study were published.

The Out on the Fields study, which spoke to almost 9,500 people from primarily English-speaking countries, found that 70% feel youth sport in Australia is not an inclusive environment for the LGBT community.

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Participants said that they believed the environments were not , further highlighted by the finding that Australian men were second most likely to avoid coming out.

While gay Australian men were also the second most likely to participate in youth team sports, 43% said that negative experiences in PE classes were a reason for not doing so, with 36% citing fear of discrimination as another.

Australian bobsled squad member Simon Dunn, who encountered homophobic behaviour in a rugby league team as a teenager, commented: “Australia has a long way to go. Unfortunately Australia just seems to be progressing a lot slower than the rest of the world.

“For me it was a huge issue, it actually prevented me from coming out until I was almost 18. [I was] a senior member of the team and your team-mates question whether you should be in the team. It’s tough.

He added: “There was the odd homophobic comment and at one point I remember in training one of my team-mates saying whether he wanted to be in the scrum with me.”

Dunn said that he believes “education is a key factor” for improving the situation for young LGBT people, adding that more public gay role models will help.

The report also found that 75% of participants feared homophobic behaviour, 55% worried about bullying and 37% named discrimination from coaches and officials as their reason for avoiding.

The governing bodies of Australia’s four major football codes and cricket have stressed their commitment to continuing to tackle homophobia in sport.

Dunn also spoke to aTEEN about his positive experiences in the sporting world – read what he had to say right here.

You can grab your copy of aTEEN issue two right now from The issue also includes interviews with the likes of Years & Years, Ben Cohen, Chris Mears and TOWIE’s Vas Morgan.