Imagining a Sports World Without Misogyny or LGBT Hatred

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For me, athletics has always been about an essential celebration of humanity and human physical capabilities. It’s been about realizing that you are capable of more than you think and testing your personal limits. There is no reason why it has to be mixed up with a hatred of women and anything feminine or traditionally feminine.

Of course, the misogyny in sports culture has a really long history that’s way older than modern sporting culture, and even older than many modern sports themselves. Women in many cultures weren’t even allowed to attend sporting matches, so they couldn’t even develop an interest in them outside of a desire to taste the proverbial forbidden fruit.

Women certainly weren’t allowed to play sports. Of course, women historically were excluded from public life in general, so it isn’t surprising that they were also excluded from athletics. We’ll never know how many women dressed up as men and became star athletes anyway, just like we’ll never know how many LGBT people passed for straight and cis throughout history.

Let’s be clear: excluding women and anything related to women from sports today is done in the exact same spirit as it was in the past. We’ve toned it down a lot and we’ve made it more socially acceptable to be a tomboy who likes sports or a female athlete who plays sports. Just because the sentiment is watered-down doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

The hatred of LGBT people in sports is connected to misogyny, and not just because lots of LGBT people are women. LGBT people are perceived as being less masculine almost by default, regardless of their gender identity or gender performance. People who are obsessed with the gender binary and gender performance will hate anyone who falls outside of it, even at the expense of a lot of LGBT athletes. Basically, for misogynists, LGBT people are a variation on women, who they hate automatically.