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Monash University

Monash Experts: Homophobic Language in Team Sport

Monash University experts are available to discuss the following topics:

Why do boys use homophobic language in team sport?

Erik Denison, Lead Researcher - Sport Inclusion Project

Contact details: +61 400 996 560 or

Richard Pringle, Professor of Sport, Health & Physical Education

Contact details: +61 452 121 349 or

New research examining why homophobic language is used in youth rugby by Monash University has found 60% of players say they use terms in order to get a laugh from their teammates, while just 10% say these slurs are used to express ‘homophobia’.

Despite ‘zero tolerance’ policies, 75% of participants reported hearing teammates using homophobic slurs in the past two weeks alone, while 52% of boys admitted to using these slurs themselves.

In order to develop effective solutions, as New Zealand Rugby has pledged to do, it is critical to understand why this language remains commonplace in male sport. Our findings provide direction to researchers and sport leaders who hope to develop focused programs to stop homophobic language in sport.

Monash researchers are presenting findings from their study at the World Congress of Sociology of Sport 2019 at the University of Otago, New Zealand, between 24-27 April.

The research will be presented as part of a session chaired by Monash Professor Richard Pringle, who will be presenting research critiquing recent suggestions by some that homophobia is no longer a significant problem in male team sport.

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or