How does discrimination against LGBT people affect straight athletes and coaches?
When LGBT people in sport are stigmatized, many young men and women go to great lengths to avoid association with lesbians and gay men by monitoring their appearance, mannerisms, and relationships with peers. In women’s sports the lesbian label is often used to discourage women from challenging inequities between men’s and women’s sports. If women fear being called lesbians, this can be an effective way to intimidate women into accepting less than equal treatment. When young male athletes express hatred of or engage in violence against gays or lesbians, they are acting on irrational fears and prejudice rather than reason and values of respect. When people participate in the harassment or discrimination against any group based on stereotypes and fears, they diminish themselves and do not take advantage of opportunities to learn how to challenge social norms so that everyone is treated respectfully.