Studies show more needs to be done to tackle homophobia in sport

By Taroi Black

Almost 9500 people of all sexualities took part in the study "Out in the Fields" to help combat homophobia in team sports.

Despite the backlash from the report, one gay athlete in particular experienced the highs of being part of a rugby league team.

He's 22 years old now but Tuhoe Tamaiparea was encouraged by his former rugby league team from Western Springs College to play.

He says, “I didn't really hang out with the boys. That was a huge difference.  So my objective was getting to know the brothers.”

Tackling the issue of being gay in men's teams was another matter he wanted to overcome.

Tamaiparea says, “There's no harm in learning.  If the person doesn't know something, then it's best to get out and learn it.

But the first international study on homophobia in sports "Out in the Fields" shows that 71% of participants in the research believe youth team sports are not supportive or safe for lesbian, gay or bisexual people.

Dion Hosking says, “We had a team and they weren't shy about it and saying they were going to beat us because we were bunch of takatāpui and they made no secret of it.  It was kind of in jest but they were quite serious at the time.  Well in the end we thrashed them.”

Hosking captains the LYC Charges touch rugby team.

He says, “Showing people an environment that they can play sport and have that tautoko other takatāpui and straight of the whole community who can awhi team.”