Homophobia in sport, a historical legacy


All the more recently, with the Sports Minister's statements against the supporters of the last PSG-OM, the question of homophobia in sport becomes central, as it relates to both the public and the public. to the sportsmen themselves. Regarding the latter, the report of Yoann Lemaire, recently broadcast on France 2, returns to the taboo of homosexuality in football. Therefore, let us ask ourselves this question: on what does homophobia and this taboo of homosexuality rest in sport in general?

The masculinist heritage

As sociologist Sylvain Ferez put it, modern sport was formed in a deeply heterosexual movement. Indeed, drawing on the work of other sociologists like Jean-Michel Faure and Charles Suaud, the researcher Sylvain Ferez reminds us that modern sport reflects an activity where the body is "desexualized" and where its use, inscribed in a very utilitarian perspective, is at once "Just and effective". This desexualization of the body implicitly has the effect of "Cold and pragmatic virility", excluding, in fact, homosexuality.

Nevertheless, the new field of research on masculinities emerging in the 80s in the Anglo-Saxon world brings us new elements of understanding about the constitution of sport as a heterosexist activity. For Canadian sociologists Jim McKay and Suzanne Laberge, the modern sport that has appeared in British bourgeois society, particularly through its educational institutions, has promoted in its heart a so-called masculinity. "hegemonic". Taking up here the concept of the Australian sociologist Raewyn Connell, the two Canadian sociologists imply that the sport proposes a masculine ethos based on the roughness, the competitive spirit, the marginalization of the women and especially the exclusion of gays. This masculinistic hegemony will continue in the history of sport, according to sociologists, because the male body has been fully associated with the performing body, that is to say, the body capable of the feat, therefore with the real body, relegating the body female and any other body related to a lack of heterosexual masculinity at a lower register.

Moreover, if we add to this analysis the idea that sport was also part of a health policy at the end of the 19th century.e where homosexuality was akin to a pathology, sport has become an effective space for the rejection of all forms of homosexuality.

Sport opacity as the reason for the taboo

If the taboo of homosexuality is always present, it is because this masculinist morality associating in particular, the physical weakness of the men to a non-heterosexuality, is always present in the sporting ideology. Based on the work in sport psychology, we can quickly understand that access to sports training is in fact the entry into a sports ideology, with the incorporation by the individual of norms and values ​​specific to sport. this medium. Thus, as sport psychologist Marc Lévêque reminds us, the arrival in the world of the sport elite offers the future athlete a new representation of the world and a new use of his body, but also a new conceptual confinement, since the membership is based on blind faith in the institutions and values ​​they convey.

On this point, another sports psychologist, Claire Carrier, who has long been interested in the training of young athletes, insists that this entry into the sphere of high level, because of its sacred dimension, is similar to a rite of passage, implying for the future champion, a rejection of the previous social representations, considered as foreign to the world of sport and thus profane. As a result, the hyperselective and competitive aspects of sports training, as well as the growing precariousness of careers in certain disciplines (football in particular) tend essentially to maintain this sporting ideology, in particular by a form of mutism and full acceptance of heterosexist norms still present in sport.

Solution: put women forward

Other works, such as those of a group of sports researchers composed of Anthony Mette, André Lecigne, Lucie Lafont and Greg Décamps, on the attitude of French athletes towards homosexuals, refer to this dimension. decisive of sports training. For these psychologists, it is among young athletes that we find the most negative manifestations towards homosexuals, highlighting the strong assimilation of the ethos and its heteronormal representations. But these studies also highlight an important element that is that if men seem better "Comply with the standards", the acceptance of homosexuality by these is greater "Within the practices mostly invested by women". Therefore, the actual promotion of the place of women in certain sports concentrating a majority of men would not be one of the best solutions to both get rid of sexual and sexual representations, and especially better fight against the homophobia?

By referring homosexuality to a vulnerability of the body, sport appears at first glance as a homophobic space, where taking words and coming out are quite risky. Therefore, it is up to the sports institutions, through the structuring and training they offer, to rethink discrimination, and to act as soon as possible to undo certain representations, and to give full recognition and appreciation. protection to all and all athletes.

Seghir Lazri

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