Sound research underpins everything we do.

There is a growing body of research documenting the state of LGBTI+ inclusion in sport in Australia and internationally, the benefits of participation and challenges organisations may be faced with when creating inclusive environments. Proud 2 Play believe in the power of using evidence-based research to underpin our actions and regularly conduct this research in conjunction with sporting organisations and universities. These informed actions, combined with observations from within Australian society, give Proud 2 Play the best chance of success in working towards LGBTI+ inclusion in sport.

Key messages from the research include:

  • 80% of all sports participants in Australia have experienced or witnessed discrimination on the basis of sexuality [1]

  • More than half of all transgender people, a quarter of males and 10% of females avoided playing sports they would like to play because of their sexuality or gender identity [2]

  • Nearly half of all sports participants aren’t out as sexuality or gender diverse to their sporting peers [2]

  • Athletic departments with a proactive diversity strategy and high sexual orientation diversity outperform their less proactive peers [3]

  • While sporting clubs may describe diversity broadly, its implementation is usually narrow [4]

  • Community demographics and changing social opinion drive commitment and resistance to diversity in sporting clubs [5]

  • Individual champions within sporting clubs are common drivers of diversity [5]

Proud 2 Play-affiliated research.

Participation vs. Performance.

(Spaaij et al., 2016):
This three-year ARC funded project explores how junior sports clubs in Victoria manage and respond to diversity. Initial findings suggest that conversations and considerations of sexuality are absent within junior sporting clubs.

Diversity Workers in Junior Sport.

(Spaaij, Storr et al., 2016):
This research documents the efforts that key individuals within sporting clubs go to (referred to as ‘community champions’) in introducing diversity and change into junior sporting clubs. A key finding from this research is the different ways these champions overcome resistance from within their clubs.

Come Out To Play.

(Symons, Sbaralia et al., 2013):
This study reported the experiences of LGBT participants within sport and physical education. Some positive benefits that LGBT respondents identified from their sports involvement were: health and fitness (35.0%), social interaction and friendships (24.0%) and enjoyment (14.1%).

Volunteering and Diversity in Community Sport.

(Storr et al.):
This ongoing PhD Project research at Victoria University critically explores the experiences of volunteers within community sports clubs and how they implement policies aimed at encouraging diversity. Findings suggest that issues around sexuality within diversity debates are not discussed, there are lack of LGBTQI volunteers, and that volunteers need better support and training in dealing and implementing diversity initiatives.

The Motivations of Sport Volunteers.

(Nichols, Storr et al., 2016):
This Sport England funded project involved a large scale review of all available literature on the motivations of volunteers in sport. Key messages report differing volunteer patterns including episodic and short term volunteering, and a shift in altruistic motives, to a more individual and personal motive.

Exploring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusion in Australian Cricket.

(Storr et al., 2017): A research report examining the current climate, attitudes and initiatives towards LGBT inclusion in Australian cricket. Key recommendations from the report included the need to develop inclusive policy, provide education and awareness training, consider inclusive workplace practices, establish LGBT supporter groups and develop communication strategies for LGBT inclusion. This work was conducted with the support of Cricket Victoria, Cricket Australia and Victoria University.

LGBTI+ Inclusion in Moreland City Council.

(Lolicato, Storr et al., 2017): A consultation project coordinated by Proud 2 Play in conjunction with Moreland City Council to facilitate discussion around LGBTI+ inclusion in sport in the Moreland catchment area.

Enacting LGBT Inclusion in Australian Cricket (in progress).

(Storr et al., ongoing): This research is centred around enacting inclusion initiatives identified in the "Exploring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender in Australian Cricket" report. This work is supported by Cricket Victoria and Western Sydney University.

LGBTI+ Supporter Groups in Australian Cricket.

(Storr et al., ongoing): This research project investigated the value of LGBTI+ supporter groups in Australian Cricket as a means of providing opportunities for LGBTI+ people to engage with sport in non-participatory formats. This research is supported by Cricket Victoria and Western Sydney University.

Impact of homophobic bullying in school PE on Same Sex Attracted and Gender Diverse young people.

(Symons, O'Sullivan, et al. 2014): This reported examined whether homophobic bullying experienced in school PE class was associated with the mental health and wellbeing of young same sex attracted and gender diverse people. Levels of verbal homophobic abuse in school PE was associated with higher self-reported depression, anxiety and stress. School PE was found to be one of the most common site for verbal homophoic abuse. Read the report here.

The Impacts of of Discriminatory Experiences on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in Sport

(Symons, O'Sullivan asnd Polman, 2017): This study explored sexist and homophobic discrimination experienced by LGB people in Australian sport. Women were found to experience both sexism and homophobia while men reported higher instances of homophobia. Participants commonly reported sadness, anger, distress, shame and negative engagement with sport as ramifications for these experiences.

LGBTI+ Inclusion in Football in Victoria.

This research examined the barriers and enablers to LGBTI+ participation in football (soccer) in Victoria. This research was completed on behalf of Football Victoria and was funded by VicHealth.


1 Denison E, Kitchen A. Out on the Fields. 2015.

2 Symons C, Sbaraglia M, Hillier L, Mitchell A. Come Out To Play: The Sports experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people in Victoria. 2010.

3 Cunningham GB. The LGBT advantage: Examining the relationship among sexual orientation diversity, diversity strategy, and performance. Sport Management Review. 2011;14(4):453-61.

4 Spaaij R, Farquharson K, Magee J, Jeanes R, Lusher D, Gorman S. A Fair Game for All? How Community Sports Clubs in Australia Deal With Diversity. Journal of Sport and Social Issues. 2014;38(4):346-65.

5 Spaaij R, Magee J, Farquharson K, Gorman S, Jeanes R, Lusher D, et al. Diversity Work in Community Sport Organizations: Commitment, Resistance and Institutional Change. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 2018;53(3):278-95.