Male tennis players surveyed about LGBTQ attitudes, the environment
About 60 players on the men’s professional tennis tour have so far taken part in an anonymous online survey on LGBTQ issues which ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli described as part of a “wider initiative” to create “an environment for players and staff that is inclusive, diverse and that is very safe and welcoming”.
“Statistically, it’s a little unusual not to have players on the ATP tour who are openly gay. We thought, in today’s world, this was an area worth taking a proactive approach – and what better way to do that than by trying to get to know what we are It’s today,” a week. “Are there obstacles? Is there anything in terms of culture, behaviors, attitudes out there that puts people in a situation where they don’t feel comfortable opening up?”
A link to more than 30 questions was emailed to about 500 singles players and 250 doubles players in August, and the tour plans to close the survey at the end of September, Mark Epps, an ATP spokesperson, said.
The tour also sought volunteers for one-on-one interviews.
The survey was created after ATP reached out to Pride Sports, a UK-based group whose website says it is working “to challenge homophobia and biphobia in sports and improve access to sports for LGBT people”.
Pride Sports has enlisted researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, to help develop the survey.
“We’ve never had a circumstance that a sport comes into close to,” said Eric Denison, a behavioral science researcher at Monash. “It’s always the other way, where either the LGBT community has taken on the sport and said, ‘You have to do something about this problem’ and (the sport was) … go on with the journey. Or the sport has a crisis.”
His description of the ATP approach: “Hey, we want to do more than just put out rainbows. We actually want to know what needs to be done to be meaningful and lead to change.”
“I don’t think anyone would deny that homophobia is a problem in tennis, just as it is in any sport,” Denison said.
It is rare for male athletes on professional teams in the United States to go out in public while they are active. In June, Karl Nessib became the first NFL player to do so for the Las Vegas Raiders. There is no active player in the NHL, although a potential player for the Nashville Predators did so in July.
NBA player Jason Collins dropped out shortly after the league season ended in 2013, then played the following year before retiring. Billy Bean came out after retiring as a baseball player; He now works for Major League Baseball as Vice President and Ambassador for Inclusion.
Denison said the ATP poll itself can help change the culture, as it leads players to think about topics they might not otherwise do.
“I don’t know how many straight men get up,” he said, “and while brushing their teeth, they thought, ‘I wonder if gays are okay with tennis?'” “
The ATP questionnaire includes links to research from the International Olympic Committee and the American Medical Association for Sports Medicine that, the survey states, “found the mental health and athletic performance of everyone can be negatively affected if the sports culture is not welcoming to gays and bisexuals.”
Excerpts from the survey:
– Are you gay, bisexual, unsure/other? … If you select as one of the above, it will be very useful to get acquainted with your experiences in more detail.
—How many active gay tennis players do you know personally?
How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements: Jokes about the race or ethnicity of others are normal in men’s tennis. … Gay jokes are normal in men’s tennis. …jokes about women are normal in men’s tennis. …sexuality is not important in men’s tennis. Gays should keep his privacy. …Homophobia is a problem in professional men’s tennis.
– Why do you think a player who has become gay will earn more, less, or the same money from sponsors?
—What percentage of ATPs would be uncomfortable or would reject a gay tennis player? Please be honest.
Other topics included the factors that contribute most to the lack of active and openly gay ATP, whether the respondent agreed with the ATP’s desire to “combat homophobia in sport” and whether it would “openly support a gay or bi-tennis player.” sexual orientation.”
Once the results are collected, Denison said, Monash will pass the statistical analysis on to Pride Sports, which will make suggestions to the ATP for programs it can adopt.
“We need to be open,” said Tour President Calvilli. “Whatever the recommendations are, we have to take them seriously.”
More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.