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Sexuality as a structural principle in sport participation

Elling, A., & Janssens, J. (2009). Sexuality as a structural principle in sport participation. International review for the sociology of sport 44 (pp. 71-86)

In this article the authors present the results of a Dutch study about sport participation among self-identified homo/bisexual men and women, compared to a matched group of heterosexual men and women. It is argued that quantitative research can further enrich the existing knowlegde in the field of sport and sexuality, which is mainly based on qualitative studies from a poststructuralist perspective. Findings both challenge and confirm stereotypical images of sport involvement by gays and lesbians. The results show that sexual 'mappings' of different sports spaces do not only exist cognitively, but influence the actual sporting biographies of men and women with different sexual identifications. Gay men are underrepresented in mainstream club sports and traditional 'masculine' team sports and over-represented in commercially based fitness sports. However, most non-heterosexual women and men have discovered mainstream sports spaces where they can participate without being confronted too much with homonegativity and heteronormativity. Simultaneously, many are reluctant to join 'counter spaces', like LGTB sports organizations and reflect a certain compliance with heteronormativity.

Uitgever(s): SAGE Publications,


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Agnes Elling
Jan Janssens

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