A new study titled "Out On The Fields," which is considered the first international study on homophobia in sport, found that the U.S. ranks the worst in sports homophobia reports TIME. The study, which surveyed 9,500 people from six different countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand), found that LGB people in U.S. sports report the most instances of receiving verbal threats and homophobic slurs because of their sexual orientation.
Researchers found that 82 percent of LGB participants either witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports with 84 percent of gay men and 82 percent of lesbians claiming they were targets of homophobic slurs. Half of the gay men polled along with 32 percent of lesbians noted they hid their sexuality while playing sports in their youth because they feared rejection from their teammates.
However, the survey is not a peer-reviewed paper published in an established journal; the head author behind the study is a former journalist turned member of Australia's first gay rugby team – the Sydney Convicts Rugby Union Club. A sports sociologist from Florida State University who examined the study's findings found that even though the sampling results ended up with significant over-representation of pro-LGBT respondents, the study clearly and accurately illustrates the pervasive homophobia that permeates sports.
Although homophobia may be pervasive on the field, it looks like attitudes are slowly beginning to change in sports stands.