LGBT Students Benefit From Athletics, But Often Subjected to Harassment, Says GLSEN Report

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com February 20 2013 5:28 PM ET

A new research brief published today by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network concluded that LGBT students who participate in team sports benefit from athletics, but also report being bullied and harassed in gym class due to their sexual orientation. 

The brief, titled "The Experiences of LGBT Students in School Athletics," examines data from more than 8,000 secondary school students in more than 3,000 school districts included in GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey. GLSEN notes that LGBT students often find physical education classes and sports teams unsafe, placing significant barriers in accessing the benefits generally provided by team sports and athletic activity, including elevated grade point averages, self esteem, and improved physical health.

"GLSEN's groundbreaking research has delved into nearly every aspect of school life for LGBT youth, and our findings demonstrate the concrete benefits that school athletics can provide LGBT students," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director in a statement. "We have also found critical gaps of safety and support that highlight the need for coaches, P.E. teachers and athletic directors to take action to ensure that school gymnasiums, playing fields and locker rooms are safe, inclusive and respectful places for all students."

Key findings from the report include:

Read the entire report as a PDF here