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Exploring the relationship between homosexuality and sport among the teammates of a small, Midwestern Catholic college soccer team

Despite decreasing homophobia, openly gay male athletes are still rare in organized, competitive
team sports. In this action research, we explore two aspects of homosexuality and sport: (1) the
effect of a gay male soccer player coming out to his teammates; and (2) the effect of having an
openly gay researcher in the field. This is, therefore, the first-ever first-hand account of an athlete’s
coming-out process with researchers in the field. Even though this is action research and, therefore,
not generalizable, we highlight that this research contributes to the body of literature on sexuality
and sport because we document the interactions of straight athletes with a gay player and a gay
researcher among the heterosexual players at a small, Catholic college in the American Midwest.
We use interviews to show that players were accepting of homosexuality before the beginning of this
research and show that discussions with these two gay men further promoted players’ perspectives
on homosexuality. This led to an increase in the team’s social cohesion and a decrease in