Sporty lesbians are a subset of lesbians who are passionate about sports. They may be into softball, lifting, disc golf, lacrosse or soccer.
Despite a long and storied history of queer women in sport, their achievements remain underappreciated. This is not only a matter of sexism but also anti-lesbian prejudice.
Lesbians in sport
Sportswomen are a great example of lesbians breaking out of stereotypical gender roles and spheres. They often pose a threat to the traditional masculine stereotypes that have dominated sports for centuries, writes historian Susan K. Cahn in her book The Sporty Woman.
Despite the fact that sports is a hugely popular pastime, women in the sport have faced discrimination and anti-gay stigma for decades. Athletes who identify as LGBTQ face a wide range of barriers in the sport realm, from disciplinary action to sexual assault.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has recognized the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in their schools and sports programs, which is why it has developed an LGBT-friendly policy. However, the acceptance of LGBTQ athletes can vary, and it is essential for a LGBTQ athlete to have confidence in their coach and athletic trainer. NCLR’s Sports Project works to ensure that LGBTQ players, coaches and athletic administrators receive fair and equal treatment in their sports.
Lesbians in motorsport
Motorsport, from Formula One to karting and rallying, offers an adrenaline rush for drivers who want to be the fastest. But it also represents a world that is often hostile to LGBTQ+ people.
Aston Martin has announced a partnership with Racing Pride, an organisation developed with Stonewall to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity in motorsport. The campaign will run across June and will feature logos on the team’s cars.
It’s the first time a team has come out in this way and is great news. It’s important that the sport’s top teams and their officials are being transparent about their support for LGBTQ+ equality.
But it’s also vital that lesbians and other LGBTQ+ people feel comfortable coming out in motorsport, which has traditionally been male-dominated. Many queer people have told me that they find it hard to be open about their sexuality and gender identity within a macho environment such as motorsport, even after 25 to 30 years of being in the industry.
Lesbians in rugby
Despite its perceived association with homosexuality, rugby is a very welcoming sport for gay and lesbian athletes. And the game itself is a great way to challenge social norms about gender, race and sexuality.
But it can also be a challenging sport for women, especially when it comes to making it through men’s competitions and even the Olympics. A recent study found that more than half of female rugby players say homophobic and sexist jokes deter them from playing the sport.
While the results of this study were not definitive, they show that sexism and homophobia are closely linked in a sport where the culture is dominated by masculinity.
This is something that Princess and Jamie, both seniors on their high school rugby team, had to deal with as they began to get more involved in the sport. They said that they had to watch out for pressures from seniors who expected them to hook-up with other girls.
Lesbians in cricket
While it may be a sport that is seen as a masculine one, there are some women who love the game too. Australia’s Alex Blackwell and England’s Lynsey Askew are two of them, while Megan Schutt is another.
Cricket has long been a gendered sport, with women often excluded from team sports because they are seen as non-feminine. Gender stereotypes have also been linked to a drop-out rate of young women in sport.
Despite the growing visibility of lesbians in cricket, there are still some obstacles to overcome. For example, a recent survey found that more than half of gay and bisexual athletes concealed their sexuality from teammates or club administrators.