Masculinities and Sexualities in Sport and Physical Cultures: Three Decades of Evolving Research
Although there is a dearth of research concerning the relationship between sport, masculinities, and homosexuality before the 1980s (see Garner & Smith, 1977, and Sabo & Runfola, 1980, for notable exceptions). Gay athletes had not yet begun to emerge from their sporting closets, nor did they exist openly within the sport-related occupational industry. For example, when Pronger (1990) studied closeted Canadian gay athletes in the late 1980s, he was unable to find men who were out to their teammates.
Whether participating in individual sports (e.g., tennis, swimming, and running) or teamsports (e.g., football, basketball, and rugby), there were few openly gay athletes in the Western world. They remained closeted because they assumed that the high degree of homophobic discourse, alongside their teammates’ vocalized opposition to homosexuality, indicated that they would have a troubled experience coming out (Woog, 1998).