Faculty Publications

Title

It’s Complicated: Negotiations and Complexities of Being a Lesbian in Sport

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Female athlete, Feminist, Lesbian, Post-structuralist, Sport

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Sex Roles

Volume

74

Issue

7-8

First Page

335

Last Page

346

Abstract

Through the lens of feminist post-structuralism, identities of sex, gender, and sexuality are socially-constructed and fluid as a result of discourse and language. From this perspective, the purpose of this paper is to examine the negotiated and often complex experiences of lesbian athletes and coaches within sport, primarily in the United States of America. After highlighting tenets of feminist post-structuralism, I posit a dominant discourse in sport, which I call the myth of the lesbian athlete. Here, myth is used as the prevalent ideologies used to validate practices of social inequality. The myth of the lesbian athlete is re/produced in the sport environment through institutional practices of exclusion, marginalization, and the silencing of sexual minorities. However, because power is reciprocal, lesbian athletes and coaches are not powerless victims. There are multiple tactics lesbian athletes and coaches use to resist and disrupt the myth of the lesbian athlete. The paper concludes with strategies to make women’s sport more inclusive for all in order to respect and value all individuals, and their identities, on the team and within the organization. The current paper adds to the existing knowledge by proposing the existence of the myth of the lesbian athlete and by re/producing and resisting the myth, creates complexities to being a lesbian in sport.

Department

School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

Original Publication Date

4-1-2016

DOI of published version

10.1007/s11199-015-0521-x

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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