Alexandria Digital Research Library

Coming Out of the Locker Room: Lesbian and Bisexual Collegiate Basketball Players' Experiences and Perceptions of Safe Space Climate in College Athletics

Shaw, Julie Elizabeth
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Degree Supervisor:
Tania Israel, Michael Gerber, and Jenny Cook Gumperz
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Recreation, GLBT Studies, Education, Leadership, and Business Administration, Sports Management
Safe Space Climate
LGBT Student Athletes
LGBT Coaches
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ed.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

In the world of athletics, a hetero-masculine culture rules, and for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) athletes this can be a challenging environment. Focusing on the experiences of lesbian and bisexual college basketball players, it is the aim of this dissertation to investigate the current safe space climate for LGBT student athletes. A safe space climate can be defined as an environment where leaders and teammates are allies that are well educated on resources for LGBT issues and are welcoming to an open expression of one's sexuality. Using a mixed method approach and branching survey, data is collected to understand what the current climate in college athletics is towards LGBT student athletes. The first of the two surveys used was The LGBT Athletics Climate Survey, consisting of fifty questions and open-ended comments section. The second survey used is the commonly used Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gays Scale (ATLG-S). Participants were directed to the first survey if they selected that they were LGBT in the demographic section. If participants selected heterosexual or straight in the demographic section they were directed to complete the ATLG-S.

Findings show that athletic leaders and coaches need to learn to incorporate practices such as placing safe space stickers in offices to help create a safe space culture. There are also findings that more safe space practices must take place as lesbian and bisexual college basketball players experience fear of coming out and are dealing with rejection from their family. Currently, it is shown that most lesbian and bisexual college basketball players are experiencing a conditionally tolerant environment that incorporates a "glass closet" mentality where sexual orientation is fairly supported, but encouraged to stay invisible. Future research on the role of the coaches and implications are discussed to help facilitate this change.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (169 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Julie Shaw
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