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Pszinapszis 2014 - Milanovich

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Dominika Milanovich

on 5 November 2014

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Transcript of Pszinapszis 2014 - Milanovich

Out in the field:
the support of LGBTQ athletes through sport psychology

Recommendations and future goals
Griffin, 2002
Prevention: clear team policies (e.g. regarding name calling)
everyone on the team must be treated with respect and dignity - effective teamwork & climate of safety
LG people in the locker room are focused on the same things that their heterosexual teammates are: the upcoming game, how or how much they will play, caring for an injury…No athlete should engage in any activity that invades the privacy of another regardless of sexual orientation.

Dominika Milanovich
Intellectual commitment and a political/human rights movement
feminist theory (Gender/Women’s Studies)
aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women
Struggle against patriarchal oppression of women

The Gender Conception

Sex: the biological aspect
Gender: the cultural aspect of being a woman/a man,
a social construction
"From a constructivist perspective, gender is a structural category (the gender order of society) and an individual practice performed in interactions. This approach emphasizes that gender is not something we have or we are, but something we perform, we do.” (Pfister, 2010)
"Gender is a theory and practice that justifies and excuses how men as a class dominate women as a class. Male domination of women is then eroticised through sexuality.”

Bisexuality (Hemmings, 2002)

Rarely conceived of as an adult sexuality
being considered nonexistent or as a transitional phase on the way to a lesbian or gay identity
Problems of temporality and non-monogamy

the state of one's gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) or gender expression not matching one's assigned sex (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex)
Independent of sexual orientation


an individual's experience of their own gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth

Queer (Warner, 1993)

Originally meaning: strange, peculiar, pejorative term for lesbians and gays

Umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or gender-binary
Challenging dichotomies, the concept of identity as a fixed and stable category, the concept of normalization

Sport: men’s last strongholds?
"images of ideal masculinity are constructed and promoted most systematically through competitive sport” (Connell, 1987, 85)
Hegemonic masculinity serves to legitimize men’s domination over women as a class, and over other forms of masculinities
Historically, sport has been a setting in which gender differences were established and celebrated

Women: non-athletic by nature?
“no matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks. Her nerves rule her muscles, nature wanted it that way”
Pierre de Coubertin, 1910

SPORT AND GENDER (Pfister, 2010)

Bodies and physical differences are at the very centre of sport since sport is a system which systematically reveals differences and establishes a ranking based on the individual’s performance
biological essentialism as a justification for inequalities
gender segregation that is scarcely to be found any longer in other areas of western societies

Women’s participation

While women now take up men’s sports and, in order to integrate, adjust to the norms and values which dominate them, men’s interest in ‘typical women’s’ physical activities is negligible
57% of women agree that in society a woman is forced to choose between being an athlete and being a female
60% of girls drop out by the age of 15! (Vescio, Wilde, and Crosswhite, 2005)
Women coaches – as token members
Lauren Jackson
$ 107,500

Kobe Bryant
The higher the positions are, the smaller the percentage of women who occupy them. = glass ceiling
As of October 2013, 24 women were active IOC members out of 110 (around 21.8%). Four women are honorary members.

Female athletes and the media

Women continue to form a small minority of sports journalists
Women are underrepresented: only 5–15% of mass media sports coverage (whether space in newspapers or time on television) is devoted to women’s sports.
their representation is sexualized
Image is often non-athletic, off-court, feminine portrayal
More focused on body type and attractiveness, than on qualities that define them as athletes
Linked to traditional heterosexual roles such as girlfriend, wife or mother

Homophobia and sexism

connections exist between traditional gender socialization (enforced by sexism) and the presence of homophobia in society (Herek, 1986; Ross, 1983a; Smith, 1998)
"both homophobia and sexism play crucial roles in preserving traditional gender ideologies and maintaining the polarization of the masculine and feminine.” (Murphy, 2006)

research has shown that people with strong traditional gender role beliefs are more likely to endorse sexist views (e.g., Glick and Fiske 1996), anti-gay attitudes (e.g., Sakalli 2002; Stevenson and Medler 1995), acceptance of partner violence (e.g., Capezza and Arriaga 2007; Stevenson and Medler 1995) and acceptance of hate crimes (e.g., Cowan et al. 2005).
men with more masculine gender role self-concepts perceive "violations” by homosexual men as a threat to male status and privilege. (Capezza, 2007, 250)

Homophobia and transphobia
(Budapest Pride Maniphesto)

What it is about:
conviction, emotion
attitude, behavior, conduct
value system

Levels of manifestations:
community (institutionalized, cultural)

The way it occurs:

hate speech
distorted representation

Distaste, contempt, prejudice, hatred

Perpetuation of oppression: subordinated + privileges

Through the system of gender socialization in society, heterosexuality has been socially constructed as the normative sexuality (Rich, 1980; Wilkinson&Kitzinger, 1994).

Rich (1980) suggests that individuals are expected to be heterosexual, and those who deviate from that norm are severely punished.

Homophobia and sports

Organized sports are a highly homophobic institution (Bryant 2001; Clarke 1998; Griffin 1998; Hekma 1998; Messner 1992; Pronger 1990; Wolf Wendel, Toma, and Morphew2001)

“The extent of homophobia in the sports world is staggering. Boys (in sports) learn early that to be gay, to be suspected of being gay, or even to be unable to prove one’s heterosexual status is not acceptable.” (Messner, 1992, 34)

Forms of homophobia in sport (Griffin, 2002)

other athletes sometimes call LGBT people names, spread rumors about them, or encourage others to avoid contact with them.
Coaches: require athletes to keep their identities hidden or try to encourage the athlete to change their sexual orientation; prohibit LG people from their teams; less playing time; less coaching attention
physically threatened or their property is vandalized
Negative recruiting: spreading rumors about LG people at other schools

Fears and reactions of heterosexual athletes
(Griffin, 2002)

Heterosexual athletes don't want to be seen as LGBT.
Stereotypes of gays limit heterosexuals' ability to appreciate their LGBT teammates or coaches.
Fears creates tension on teams and damages the learning environment.
Fears about sharing the locker room with LGBT teammates
Peer pressure to participate in anti-gay activities or discussions to establish themselves as heterosexuals.

Homophobia: symbolic boundary in a homosocial setting?

"Homophobia works as a system of social control. This is especially, but not exclusively, apparent in relationships among men where homophobia establishes boundaries of intimacy between men.” (Madureira, 2007, 225)

Transgender people and competitive sport
(Henne, 2014)

Transgender athletes may participate in the Olympic Games if they meet the three conditions of the Stockholm Consensus:
Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy.
Legal recognition of their assigned sex has been conferred by the appropriate official authorities.
Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sport competitions.

Legal recognition in some countries can be problematic
Still upholds the advantage thesis (“nonfemale” intruders in women’s events +unfair physical advantage)
renders the chosen gender as presumably female.

There are very few openly LGB athletes…

2012 London Olympics: 21
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: 7

Fear of loss of corporate sponsorships
Fear of reaction of fans
Few highly visible LGBT sportstars
Limited legal protections
Coaches who discriminate against them and/or insist that they remain closeted
In team sports: pressure from teammates and coaches to remain closeted

Janssens & Elling (2007): Sport habits of LGBT people

1400 LG people - matched sample
1 out of 10 lesbian athlete, 2 out of 10 gay athlete did not come out to any of their teammates
50% of men, 60% of women disclosed their sexual orientation to all members of the sport community

Item: "In which sphere of life would you keep your sexual orientation hidden the most?”

Women: sport nr. 3
Men: sport nr. 1 (32%)

The benefits of having openly LGBT athletes and/or coaches

Team commitment, no secrets, honesty
Ability to focus on athletic goals, fewer distractions caused by fear, tension and silence
Growing visibility
Improved team performance

Speak up to address anti-LGBT slurs, comments.
Talk with athletes, parents, and coaches who have concerns about LGBT people on the team.
Organize educational programs to help athletes, parents, or coaches understand team expectations for fairness, respect, and safety for all.
An important role model

Griffin, 2002
Speaking out against harassment and discrimination
Not participating in gay bashing; public or private
Publicly be an ally by participating in programs on LGBT issues at conferences and in schools.
Planning educational programs for coaches, parents, and athletes
Respond promptly and according to policy to any harassment or discrimination charges.

Talk with their child about their reactions and concerns about having a LGBT teammate.
Provide resources
Challenge stereotypes

Halleck (1971): The Politics of Therapy
therapists never make ethically or politically neutral decisions
"It is, better to be aware of and own up to our biases than to pretend that we have none.” (Davison, 2001, 696)  importance of self-knowledge
Often vague and complex complaints - conceptualization what is wrong
psychological problems are for the most part constructions of the clinician.

Sexual orientation – is it relevant or irrelevant to their psychological problems?
When problems relate to sexual identity -  discrimination, hostility and even physical violence
Foster gay-affirmative attitudes
acceptance of homosexuality as a normal variation of human sexuality!

Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989)

"The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”
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