LGBTQ+ People and Sports

Group of people wearing fitness apparel standing against a gray wall

For millions of Americans, sport embodies our ideals of equality, fairness, perseverance, discipline and integrity. On the field, court or track, in the ring, on the ice, or in the stands, we transcend our differences in the spirit of honest competition and perseverance. But in too many places, sports are not always a safe or affirming space for aspiring LGBTQ+ athletes.

Explore HRC’s resources on LGBTQ+ athletes in sports:

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Play to Win: Improving the Lives of LGBTQ Youth in Sports

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In 2017, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Connecticut to deploy a comprehensive survey capturing the experiences of LGBTQ youth in their family settings, schools, social circles, and communities. Over 17,0009 youth aged 13-17 participated in the survey, with representation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This report analyzes the data obtained from this to develop key insights into attitudes about and experiences of LGBTQ youth in sports.

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Equality in the Stands

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In many places, the stands and other spectating spaces are still too often plagued by discriminatory attitudes further exacerbated by negative behavior displayed both on and off the field. LGBTQ fans are particularly at risk, as the chants and climate of major sporting events have historically marginalized those who may not conform to cultural and sporting norms for gender, sexuality, physical ability or appearance.

This report relays anti-LGBTQ attitudes among sports fans, and explores opportunities to improve these attitudes.

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Be a CHAMPION for LGBTQ Inclusion

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This short resource describes how you can spearhead LGBTQ equality in sports for all ages!


The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ community.

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