Theoretical perspectives and methodolgical approaches for studying LGBTQ experiences in sport

Birgit Braumüller*, Tim Schlunski

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContributions to collected editions/anthologiesResearchpeer-review


This chapter aims to summarise and reflect on the different theoretical and methodological approaches applied in recent empirical studies (published since 2010) on LGBTQ athletes’ experiences. Research on the relevance of sexual orientation and gender identity in sport and the situation of LGBTQ athletes is certainly complex. In sport, sex and gender (identity) play a crucial role, which can be traced back to the importance of the male and female body at the centre of sporting activities and the continuing male domination, with masculine appearances, behaviours, and characteristics seen as promising success in most sports contexts. Based on gendered expectations and assumed male physical superiority, sex segregation serves as the main structural principle in sports systems. Associated with an unquestioned assumption of heterosexuality, these gendered and binary characteristics transfer manifold expectations and stereotypes concerning the expression of sex, gender (identity), and sexual orientation. The interplay of these sports-related and contextual factors creates a complex research field that is accompanied by the sometimes unsystematic terminology used in LGBTQ research. Thus, before we turn to theory and methodology, it seems appropriate to clarify some of the terms and acronyms used in research on gender and sexual minority (GSM) individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSport, Identity and Inclusion in Europe : The Experiences of LGBTQ people in sport
EditorsIlse Hartmann-Tews
Number of pages13
Place of PublicationLondon, New York
Publication date23.05.2022
Article number1
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-05253-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-19676-1
Publication statusPublished - 23.05.2022