The new research was commissioned by Pantene, one of the major sponsors of Mardi Gras 2021.
According to the study, while four in five LGBTQI+ people played team sport at some stage of their life, almost half had given up playing in a team by the time they reached twenty-one years old.
Respondents who said they would be open to playing for a team have faced significant barriers preventing them from doing so. The biggest barriers were fear of judgement and lack of confidence, which accounted for sixty-two per cent.
As part of the campaign, Pantene released video content featuring Matildas players Katrina Gorry (pictured left in header image) and Tameka Yallop (pictured right).
Despite the barriers, eighty-seven per cent of respondents recognised that team sports could provide benefits to LGBTQI+ people, including widening social circles, increasing self-confidence and overall wellbeing, while mateship ranked the highest.
Half of respondents believed that team sport had the power to inspire strength and confidence in LGBTQI+ young people.
The research also found that eighty-one per cent of the LGBTQI+ community believed more work could be done to encourage LGBTQI+ to join sports teams and feel welcomed.
Actions that would have the greatest impact included:
- More LGBTQI+ role models
- More sporting clubs adopting and making a public statement about their inclusivity and anti-discrimination policies
- More positive commentary on LGBTQI+ sports stars in the media and online
As a major sponsor of Mardi Gras his year, Pantene has launched its 2021 Ribbon of Strength campaign with the goal of inspiring LGBTQI+ people to participate in sport. This year, the Ribbons of Strength – which are usually gold – will have a limited-edition rainbow Pride design.
They can be requested for free via the Panetene ANZ Instagram.
Katrina Gorry, Westfield Matildas Midfielder and Pantene Ribbon of Strength ambassador said, “I’m shocked to learn from Pantene’s research that only 6 percent of LGBTQI+ Australians are taking part in a team sport. That’s a statistic we really need to change.”
“I started realising I was gay when I quite young and at that age, it was important for me to have the support of my soccer team to be able to share my experience and talk to people about what I was feeling. Now being part of the Matildas, every single player knows that we have each other’s backs.”
“I’d encourage anyone who wants to join a sports team – no matter who you are, who you love or how old you are – to just put on your boots and get on the pitch. Once you find the strength, and the support from those around you, you’ll realise how much you can achieve.”
Albert Kruger, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO, said, “Connectivity and community help make us feel whole. Joining a sports team can have great benefits for strengthening our feelings of belonging.”
“We’re very excited to be partnering with Pantene on the Ribbon of Strength and look forward to working with them to help drive more LGBTQI+ participation in sports.”
Pantene Australia Bran Director Stephanie Doyle added, “the Pantene Ribbon of Strength was created in a bid to encourage participation in sports. This year, through our partnerships with the Westfield Matildas and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, we’re proud to inspire greater LGBTQI+ participation in sport.”
“We hope the powerful stories of strength from experienced LGBTQI+ players inspire the future generation of LGBTQI+ sports stars to put on their boots and play with pride.”
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