Gay coach seeks other coaches for thesis

Jeff Thomae, a graduate student at Minnesota State University in Mankato, and himself a diving coach, is seeking gay male college coaches for his thesis. He said he has three coaches already but needs more to be able to do the research. All respondents are promised confidentiality. Thomae describes what he is looking for:

I'm very interested to connect with gay male collegiate coaches of any sport, any division, head coach or assistant coach, out or closeted, who would be willing to do a 45-60 minute interview with me about his experiences. Confidentiality is a big concern for the study, and I have put in place the best processes I can to make sure that the content of the interviews, names, and institutional affiliation will be kept anonymous. My advisor and I will be the only people who have access to the interview transcripts before they are redacted for anonymity.

Like a lot of gay athletes, Thomae wrestled with his sexuality and was terrified of being found out. After a process of self-discovery, he started coming out to more people. When he accepted the diving coach job he was totally out and says there has been "zero drama" about it.

As for what he is trying to discover with his thesis, Thomae said:

In 2008, I went back to graduate school for a second time, this time for sport & exercise psychology. In our Psych of Coaching class, we discussed Krane and Barber's qualitative study about lesbian coaches. I was able to talk about my experiences, and was really interested in the apparent differences between lesbians and gay men in sport: the faulty assumption is that really good female athletes "must be" lesbian, but really good male athletes (particularly in the big time sports) are assumed to be straight.

Even diving, which is derided as a "gay sport" by some, struck me as having a fairly deep closet for coaches, and it got me thinking about how difficult it must be for gay coaches in other sports to make the decision to come out or stay closeted in their work. After talking to my advisor, we agreed that doing a study like Krane and Barber but for gay male coaches could reveal both some very interesting similarities AND differences in the experiences of gay men and lesbians in coaching.

Anyone interested in possibly participating can read more and contact Thomae.

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