Much has happened over the years when it comes to the relationship between sports and the LGBT community. We’ve seen the positive and the negative, and we can’t deny the impact that it has had.
The LGBT community has grown in influence over the last few years. They have faced many obstacles from marriage rights, employment discrimination and just discrimination in general. They’ve had to overcome so much and their appearance in sports, especially professional, is a prime example of this.
Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Brittney Griner are just a few professional athletes who have come out as members of the LGBT community. As I have said before in previous articles, athletes are the center stage in our lives. They’re everywhere and we are able to witness everything due to the media. Therefore, these few athletes and others’ expression and ownership for their sexuality has a huge impact on not only sports itself, but for the ones watching. Many who were maybe initially opposed to the LGBT community have probably changed their minds due to their love for a particular team or player. Also, seeing that someone in the public light is brave enough to own their sexuality could possibly encourage others to not be so afraid to do the same.
The LGBT community has made an impact on the collegiate sports world as well. According to an article on the Washington Blade titled, “LGBT Issues 101”, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, will offer a course next year called “Sports and Sexual Diversity” in its undergraduate program.
“This course will explore the role of sports and wellness programs in promoting or impeding social inclusion, as well as their role in community building among sexual minorities,” says Scott Rayter, associate director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. “It will consider the ways that sexuality has been framed or regulated in sports, as well as the challenges to such limits from among athletes, LGBT community activists and others.”
As you can see, the LGBT community has and will continue to make a huge impact on sports. They still continue to face hate, discrimination and other obstacles, but they’ve still come so far. Many more athletes are coming out and being accepted into the sports world as the years go by. This contributes to the community aspect of sports which is to bring people together no matter who they are or identify as.
Heading image from creativecommons.org