You Can Play, but Can You be Yourself: How LGBT and Non-LGBT Student-Athletes Perceive the Climate of NCAA Division I Athletic Departments
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In recent years, the American public has offered growing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, as evidenced by the legalization of same sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015), the coming-out of numerous celebrities, and the mainstreaming of LGBT issues in popular media. There remains, however, a need for current research to see if such acceptance has permeated the locker rooms, offices, and venues of National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) sports. While there is a growing body of non-academic, anecdotal portrayals of LGBT individuals in the world of sports (Babb, 2014; Burns, 2015; Fagan, 2014; Tuaulo, 2007), the availability of quantitative data on which to define the current LGBT climate on NCAA member campuses, as perceived by student athletes, is limited. This study utilized Redcap software to administer a 53-item climate survey (Liddle, Luzzo, Hauenstein. & Schuck, 2004; Rankin et al., 2011) to compare responses of Division I student-athletes who do and student-athletes who do not identify as LGBT in order to examine the impact of many mitigating and mediating factors on student perception. Over 350 student-athletes from six Division I institutions participated in the survey. Results of Chi-square tests revealed a statistically-significant relationship for the predictor variables of having an out LGBT coach or teammate and for perceiving a warm LGBT climate on the greater campus while no statistically significant relationship was found for the predictor variables of personally identifying as LGBT and for sport participation by risk of injury. The resulting data serves as a foundation on which team, departmental, institutional, and national organizational policies and practices can be structured, while providing the rationale for institutions to investigate their own climate, the methodology for replicating the study, and the resources and programming ideas to effect change.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. LGBTSACI survey Instrument -- Appendix B. SSIRB approval -- Appendix C. Agreement of confidentiality