Perceptions of homophobia and heterosexism in physical education

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2003 Jun;74(2):205-14. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2003.10609082.


Educators have a responsibility to provide safe space, but gay and lesbian youth face particularly hostile environments. This initial study surveyed physical education teachers (n = 82) and young adults (n = 77) about their perceptions of homophobic and heterosexist behaviors within physical education and teachers' use of inclusive behaviors. Most teachers and both gay and straight students witnessed heterosexist and homophobic behavior, and most lesbian and gay students had personally experienced homophobic behavior. These data indicate that homophobic and heterosexist behaviors are common in secondary schools, that teachers intend to provide a safe space, and that techers fail to confront heterosexist or homophobic behaviors and take proactive steps to create an inclusive environment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Faculty / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality / psychology*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Organizational Culture
  • Physical Education and Training / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prejudice*
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Social Perception*
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data