Drexel professor Ellen Staurowsky had long been thinking about the various issues the LGBT community faces in sports. And when she attended a couple recent conferences with other scholars and athletes, she realized she wasn’t the only one with concerns about the challenges associated with coming out. During a meeting at Texas A&M University last spring, she decided that an easily accessible project, compiling LGBT-in-sports resources in the same place, had to be created. Luckily, she had the wherewithal to do it.
“As I listened to that conversation, I realized that being here at Drexel, we have the kinds of resources that could put together this kind of venture and showcase for scholars and activists,” she says. So earlier this month, Staurowsky, a professor in the Department of Sport Management, and several students and activists, launched LGBT Issues in Sport: Theory to Practice, a blog run through Drexel University that provides details on this sensitive, growing issue.
Staurowsky says the blog will serve as the “largest database that will provide research on LGBT issues that we’re aware of.”
Since its launch on Oct. 11, five contributors have written about studies into the “heterosexist climate of college athletes,” transgender inclusion in school sports and reporting on convicted Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
The issue of coming out in sports, Staurowsky says, has become more prevalent in recent years, as athletes, well-known for anti- gay locker room humor have openly condoned homosexuality, and, like the Phillies, created It Gets Better videos. Patrick Burke, talent scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, has begun a similar project called You Can Play, which seeks to limit “locker-room slurs” in professional and school sports, and judge athletes solely on their ability to, you know, play their sport. Former NFL player Wade Davis recently came out after retiring, though has admitted he wishes he’d done so earlier.
“This group of athletes is not going to wait for that first professional athlete to come out,” Staurowsky continues. “There is such a movement right now [for LGBT athletes] to take control of their own lives.”
Visit stream.goodwin.drexel.edu/ lgbtsportresearchnet/ for more information.