Despite decreasing homophobia, openly gay male athletes are still rare in organized, competitive teamsports. In this action research, we explore two aspects of homosexuality and sport: (1) the effect of a gay male soccer player coming out to his teammates; and (2) the effect of having an openly gay researcher in the field. This is, therefore, the first-ever first-hand account of an athlete's coming-out process with researchers in the field. Even though this is action research and, therefore, not generalizable, we highlight that this research contributes to the body of literature on sexuality and sport because we document the interactions of straight athletes with a gay player and a gay researcher among the heterosexual players at a small, Catholic college in the American Midwest. We use interviews to show that players were accepting of homosexuality before the beginning of this research and show that discussions with these two gay men further promoted players' perspectives on homosexuality. This led to an increase in the team's social cohesion and a decrease in heteronormativity.
- gay athlete
- coming out