Seeing the Invisible, Speaking About the Unspoken: A Position Paper on Homophobia in Sport

In recent years, Canadian sport leaders have pursued a number of national policy initiatives and programs to promote safety, fun, fair play and ethical conduct within the Canadian sport system.  In most cases, the experience of sport is overwhelmingly positive for participants — but in rare cases, the sport experience is not safe and welcoming. Issues such as harassment, bullying, violence and homophobia undermine the powerful potential of sport to contribute to personal, social and community development. 

In keeping with its mandate to increase the participation of women and girls in sport and physical activity, Canadian Women & Sport has prepared a position paper on homophobia in sport. Homophobia — or the fear and hatred of people who are homosexual— is often an obstacle to participation in sport among all groups: women and men, young and old, of any sexual orientation. In particular, many girls and women shy away from sport out of fear they will be perceived as lesbians. Canadian Women & Sport feels that addressing the issue of homophobia in sport is very timely given Canada’s inclusive stance on minority rights as well as the Canadian sport system’s overall strategy of making the sport environment, and the sport experience, safe and welcoming.