Female field hockey players and gay games participation

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The creation of the Gay Games and other gay and lesbian sporting events have provided a space for gay and lesbian athletes to participate in sports, free from the discrimination experienced in mainstream sport. The Gay Games in particular is the largest sporting and cultural event organised by and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, and is open to all skill levels, genders and sexual orientations. While the Gay Games are based on participatory discourses, the level of competition in some events at the Gay Games is high. Consequently, recreational level athletes are able to participate in a higher level of competition than they normally would in regular club competitions. An analysis of the experiences of players from a recreational level women’s hockey club in Australia and their Gay Games participation has revealed several positive outcomes for these athletes. Through participation at the Gay Games, these women are able to compete at a higher level of competition, have formed new friendships and developed closer bonds with teammates, and experienced a sense of personal empowerment. This presentation will draw on interview and sociological material in order to explore the experiences of these women in relation to these themes, and their participation at the Gay Games.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of sport and society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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