Eric Anderson (aka Coach Gumby) has long been one of the world's leading academics on gay-sports issues. Recently his research revealed an increasing trend of young straight men kissing one another. Now comes an update on his research into the treatment of gay athletes. Previously explored in 2002, Anderson has brought his analysis into 2010 and found increasing acceptance of gay athletes by their teammates.
The athletes in the 2010 cohort have had better experiences after coming out than those in the earlier cohort, experiencing less heterosexism and maintaining better support among their teammates. I place these results in the context of inclusive masculinity theory, suggesting that local cultures of decreased homophobia created more positive experiences for the 2010 group.
His research reflects something we've been saying for years: It's safe to come out on far more teams and in far more places than most people think:
Like Neil, none of the other athletes I interviewed had any substantial difficulties on their teams after coming out as gay. Just as with my first study of openly gay male team sports athletes (Anderson 2002), no gay athlete I interviewed was physically assaulted, bullied, or harassed by teammates or coaches.
That's a pretty powerful statement; In the 11 years we've run Outsports, we haven't heard of a single incident of a male athlete coming out either (When Greg Congdon was outed against his will, that experience was in fact negative).
Anderson is now a professor in the Department of Sport Studies at the University of Winchester.
You can read Anderson's full report here.