ELEANOR WOOLCOTT 

The first international study on homophobia has been launched with help from Brunel Academic. 

The report, Out on the Fields, shone light on the regularity with which gay, lesbian and bisexual (LGBT) individuals face discrimination both inside and outside of their sporting dominion.

The study was launched in the lead up to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia that occurred on May 17th.

Led by sports market research firm Repucom and a number of university academics, it looked at the type of homophobia and how often such discrimination occurs among athletes and fans alike across a number of countries – primarily the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, USA and New Zealand.

Brunel’s own Professor Ian Rivers, one of seven experts to be involved, says; “The goal [of the study] is to ensure that sports are welcoming and inclusive to everyone, whether watching or playing, regardless of sexuality.”

He also hopes that “This historic research will help us move beyond the stories and anecdotes we hear and help as collect some hard, international numbers… We’ll be able to compare the UK with other major, English-speaking countries to see how well we are addressing this issue.”

This ground-breaking study is being fully supported by many recognisable faces of gay and lesbian athletes, including Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas.

“We need to change sporting culture so that sexuality is no longer an issue and sport is welcoming and accepting to everyone.” Thomas says.

“Many athletes around the world fear they won’t be accepted by their teammates and others if they are honest about their sexuality.”

This study is open to everyone, irrespective of sexuality. To complete the survey, visit www.outonthefields.com