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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]


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.

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