Teaching Unity: Educational Resources about Homophobia in Women’s Sports
As a follow up to the previous post on how to be an Athlete Ally to women in sports, we have provided educational resources that you access to learn more about how homophobia has impacted female athletes.
To contextualize this post, many have women have historically been discouraged from playing competitive sports because it was considered to be unfeminine and improper. The social stigma of being associated with "manliness" or lesbianism was used to discourage women from playing sports. In order to play, many women had to perform hyper-femininity (i.e. wearing makeup, dressing "feminine," long hair, etc.) to avoid being targeted as lesbians. These homophobic sentiments have endured within women’s sports programs today.
"Training Rules," A Documentary by Dee Mosbacher and Fawn Yacker (2010)
"Training Rules" is a powerful documentary that follows the stories of former Pennsylvania State University women’s basketball players when Rene Portland was Head Coach. Portland was notorious for discriminating against players she perceived to be lesbian. Her infamous training rules were "no drinking, no drugs, no lesbians." This documentary showcases her former players, such as Jennifer Harris, bravely coming forth and speaking out against Coach Portland's discriminatory training rules.
See documentary’s official website for more information: http://www.trainingrules.com/
Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport By: Pat Griffin (1998)
Strong Women, Deep Closets by Pat Griffin, a scholar who has truly pioneered activism and scholarship on homophobia and women’s sports, details how female athletes, coaches, and sports administrators have endured homophobic discrimination. This book historicizes why homophobia has been normalized and embedded into women’s sports. In addition, the author centers the lives of women in sports who have experienced homophobic discrimination; she analyses the live histories of the forty-eight coaches, sports administrators, and athletes she interviewed for this project. She ends the book with suggestions, such as policy reform and educational resources, on how end homophobia in women's sports.
Babe: The Life and Legend of Babe Didrikson Zaharias By: Susan Cayleff (1996)
In addition to being a comprehensive biography of the legendary athlete, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Dr. Susan Cayleff, a professor of Women’s Studies, provides an analysis of how the social climate and expectations of women's roles during Babe's time impacted how she was received as a professional athlete and how she presented herself in everyday life.
Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions from Female Coaches By: Sheila Robertson (2006)
This anthology is great resource to have as a coach, sports administrator, a sports scholar, or someone who is simply interested in sports culture. It is a compilation of articles that provide concrete ways on how coaches can effectively address issues such harassment, bullying, and homophobia. While it is written by Canadian coaches and details Canadian sports culture, coaches in the U.S. can surely gain some insight on how to negotiate points of conflict while on the job. This anthology includes Guylaine Demer’s "Homophobia in Sport-Fact of Life, Taboo Subject" in which she historicizes homophobia in sports and offers practical solutions on how to end homophobia in sports.
By: Kristine Palma | email@example.com
Kristine is a Masters Candidate at San Diego State University. She is completing a thesis on addressing the interrelated barriers of sexism, racism, and homophobia in women's sports.