It’s a known fact that American pro-sports are not known for welcoming LGBT athletes. If you require additional proof just look at Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin the only openly gay male athlete. However, he has now teamed up with Athlete Ally and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality to help create a sort of #MeToo movement in the hopes of addressing homophobia in sports.
In an effort to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports Collin is working with RISE – an “alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals using sports to bring people together to promote understanding, respect and, equality.” Speaking with California university student-athletes to address anti-LGBT participation in sports and put forward initiatives that stop discrimination before it appears on-field, during practices or within the locker room.
Martin is also spearheading training that educates college and university coaches about sexual misconduct and what behaviors are appropriate for students and players alike. Providing tools that assist them in developing strategies for putting a stop to any anti-LGBT language, for example when team members or opponents call weak or ineffective things “gay” or use the word “faggot” to intimidate opponents.
Martin stated in a recent interview, “There are kids out there that still are questioning themselves and questioning their spot in sports just based on their sexuality.” Furthermore, he stated: “We need to have a better culture in place for our young kids, and if that can come from coaches and better education in terms of how they’re creating a healthy environment for their teams at a young age.”
Efforts to combat homophobia in sports isn’t an easy task and Martin appears to understand this. A survey completed in 2015 found that of 9,500 athletes from six English-speaking countries found 83% of male athletes remain closeted to their teammates, 84% had witnessed homophobia at a sporting match and 80% didn’t feel safe to be openly gay as either a competitor or a spectator.