How safe is your team for gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender, queer or questioning athletes (and coaches!)? Take this safety quiz for college athletics… see how you do?! Use the quiz as a tool to work with college athletic administrators, coaches and student athletes to increase awareness of LGBTQ issues.
- Do you hear language or jokes that demean gays, bisexuals or trans people (or anyone who is different)?
- Do coaches or team members use anti-LGBTQ slurs to taunt each other, or to encourage better performance?
- Are LGBTQ athletes or coaches expected to keep their sexual orientations secret
- Are LGBTQ issues or concerns ever discussed seriously on the team?
- Are athletes encouraged to respect differences?
- What would be the reaction if someone on your team came out as gay, bisexual or transgender?
- What would happen if an athlete or coach brought a same-sex date to a team social function, like a party or banquet?
- How much knowledge do coaches and athletes have about LGBTQ issues?
If your team is like many, it won’t score high on that quiz. So what can be done?
All athletes – gay, bi, trans and straight – can…
- Stop using anti-LGBTQ comments – or anything other words that demean any group of people.
- Speak out against prejudiced comments made by others – whatever those comments are.
- Assume that every team includes gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender athletes.
- Make no assumption about any teammate or coach’s sexual orientation. Judge everyone instead on character and personality.
- Refuse to be intimidated or “motivated” by anti-LGBTQ or sexist slurs. Report anti-LGBTQ (or other biased) comments – whether from teammates, coaches, opponents or spectators — to the appropriate person (assistant coach, head coach, athletic director, dean).
- Encourage your athletic department or coach to schedule workshops or seminars on homophobia, sexism and sexual harassment. This is not a “gay” issue – it’s an issue of treating people fairly and safely.
- Stop assuming that all athletes are heterosexual.
- Monitor their own attitudes and actions; stop behaviors that encourage a hostile atmosphere for gay athletes, or that condone anti-gay actions by team members.
- Attend workshops
- Read about homophobia in athletics, and the special issues and concerns of gay youth.
- Discuss homophobia with athletes, and address anti-LGBTQ attitudes and actions by athletes.
- Be available and prepared to talk with athletes who either question their own sexual orientation, or express homophobic or transphobic beliefs.
- Speak out openly against anti-LGBTQ actions and policies.
- (For LGBTQ coaches): Be as open as you safely can be; all young people, gay and straight, need positive role models.
- Recognize that LGBTQ people are everywhere. They are athletes, coaches, trainers, sportswriters, bus drivers – everyone who works with any team.
- Establish nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression for all teams; make sure that all athletes and coaches understand what actions are unacceptable, and what procedures will be followed if policies are violated
- Ensure that all locker rooms, training rooms, fields and arenas are welcoming places for everyone.
- Provide mandatory LGBTQ-supportive education and programs for coaches and athletes.
Source: Campus Pride, 2012 with attribution to Dan Woog.