You may have noticed that there’s been a wealth of graphs and statistics appearing on GSB of late. The team here at GSB can assure you that this data has not been easy to source. It seems that one under-surveyed sector of the population is the LGBT sports community. The charity Stonewall have picked up on this issue – see this extract from their website:
In 2008, Sport Scotland in partnership with UK Sport, Sport England and Sport Northern Ireland, published a literature review into sexual orientation in sport. The review found that very little research exists on how sexual orientation and homophobic discrimination affects the participation of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and gave recommendations on future research that needs to be conducted.
The good news is, this year things have begun to change. After a campaign by Stonewall, for the first time the annual Active People survey by Sport England asked particpants what their sexual orientation is.
But when you visit their website where the results for the most recent survey are published, there is no evidence of this. Why have they not included their results alongside their other key demographic listings of nationality, age, region of the UK and employment information? I have contacted Sport England to ask them to send me some results which reflect the sexual orientation of participants, but have as yet had no response. I’ll keep you posted!
Also on the horizon is a very promising piece of research by the National Union of Students (NUS). They have launched their Out in Sport campaign, and are currently surveying students across the country to work out the barriers to LGBT participation in sport. You can fill in the survey here, and we very much look forward to seeing the results.
Anyway, the current situation is that there’s not a whole lot of data out there. Luckily, I found some assistance in the obliging Dr Nigel Jarvis, an academic at Brighton University. He conducted his phd research on the meaning and effect of sport in the lives of British and Canadian men. He surveyed 123 men at the Gay Games in Sydney, using their responses to add to hegemonic and queer theoretical debates in academia.
Dr Jarvis provided GSB with the data he collected from his phd research so we can look out how and why gay men participate in gay sport. See below for some data visualisations we have created – and decide whether or not you agree with what they said!
This interactive visualisation shows how British and Canadian men first got involved in the gay sporting community.
This next graphic illustrates the different reasons why the British and Canadian men decided to get involved. Click to interact with the visualisation. The results on show are for British respondents – use the drop down box to select the Canadian results if you want to see why the guys across the pond get involved.
This pie chart nicely displays the popularity of different sporting activities amongst the gay men questioned. As above, the graphic is currently mapping results for the British contingent, who it seems favour football, swimming and badminton (although golf, cricket and rowing also make a very British appearance!) Switch over to the Canadian side to see how similar they are to us Brits!
Just for a change, we’ve given the Canadians the display position for this one. It’s called a treemap, and displays the effect participating in sport has had on the lives of the men questioned. It’s interesting how much of an impact playing sport had on an individual’s self worth – surely a demonstration of how much potential sport has to provide so much more than exercise.
Last but not least, this visualisation answers the question that I am sure has occurred to many people reading this post. Why do gay men not participate in non-gay sport? Note that just 3.8% of British respondents said that it was because non-gay sport was homophobic. (This figure climbs to 5% in Canada).
This data has been kindly provided by Dr Nigel Jarvis of Brighton University.