The Success of LGBT Athletes in the Sports Media

  • Edward (Ted) M. KianEmail author


For decades sport media has been criticized by scholars researching women and/or LGBT in sport for upholding hegemonic masculinity by primarily providing coverage of male athletes in what media helped socially construe as masculine sports. Whereas coverage of female athletes has been the subject of hundreds (maybe thousands) of published scholarly articles since the mid-1970s, little was researched on LGBT in sport. This was likely due to a lack of openly gay athletes, especially in the more popular professional men’s team sports that receive the majority of sports media content in most Western countries. However, the twenty-first century has seen increasingly more athletes coming out publicly as gay or lesbian and issues surrounding LGBT discussed far more by sport media, which has led to more scholarship on LGBT and sport media. That research has shown sport media generally offering support and providing positive coverage to openly gay athletes. The limitless space of the Internet has resulted in far more coverage of LGBT athletes and issues, while the advent of social media has allowed LGBT athletes and supporters to reach fans, media, and sport consumers directly. This chapter analyzes the historic relationship between LGBT and sport media, with a focus on scholarly research and major changes that have occurred in the digital age (i.e., Internet and social media).


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Media and Strategic CommunicationsOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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