New research by Pantene Australia has found that only 6 per cent of Australia’s LGBTQI+ community currently play a team sport, with issues related to fear of judgement and confidence contributing to shockingly low participation.
The study, which has been commissioned as part of Pantene’s major sponsorship of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, found that despite four in five (79 per cent) playing at some stage during their life, almost half (46 per cent) give up playing in a sports team by the time they are 21 years old.
Alarmingly, 76 per cent of respondents who say they’d be open to playing for a sports team have faced crippling barriers which have prevented them from doing so. The greatest barriers are fear of judgement and lack of confidence, accounting for 62 per cent. Lack of LGBTQI+ role models for inspiration was also cited by 13 per cent of respondents.
Benefits of Team Sports to the LGBTQI+ Community
Despite these statistics, most respondents (87 per cent) recognise that team sport can provide benefits to people in the LGBTQI+ community. Widening social circles (62 per cent), improving self-confidence and overall wellbeing (61 per cent), and mateship (55 per cent) ranked highest, while half (49 per cent) of respondents believe in the power team sport has to inspire strength and confidence in LGBTQI+ youth.
More Work to Be Done
The research found that the majority of people in the LGBTQI+