A ‘wake-up’ call from the LGBTQIA+ boxing community – make the sport we love more inclusive!

04/18/2023 - No comments

Following on from the success of the inaugural World Gay Boxing Championships held last February during Sydney WorldPride, a global survey snapshot highlights the geographic and social diversity of the LGBTQIA+ boxing community but also that homophobia and transphobia are alive and well.

Fighters, trainers, and allies from 15 countries (including Japan, Singapore, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cuba, and Brazil) completed the Diversity Atlas survey for the Australian not-for-profit World Gay Boxing Championships Limited (WGBC) to better understand the identities, perspectives, and experiences of LGBTQIA+ people and allies involved in boxing around the globe.  

Some encouraging findings of the snapshot were that:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) say they feel accepted and included and have ‘visible’ allies, 
  • The majority of respondents (54%) are either out or would feel comfortable coming out
  • Almost half (46%) say there are visible signs of the support of LGBTQIA+ people where they train or compete.

WGBC Founder and CEO, Martin Stark welcomed the snapshot of the global LGBTQIA+ boxing experience that Diversity Atlas provided. 

“These results highlight that we are a global boxing community and the passion and commitment we have for the sport – even in the face of considerable adversity and hostility”, Stark said, “The results of the survey create an opportunity for us to partner with boxing organizations and provide a benchmark from which we can measure progress”.

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However, the results above still leave plenty of room for improvement, and the following responses indicate a real cause for concern:

  • Almost 40% of respondents have directly experienced homophobia/transphobia, bullying or harassment,
  • Close to three-quarters (73%) have heard jokes, slurs, innuendo, or negative commentary about LGBTQIA+ people when training or competing
  • 92.3% say that there is a problem with homophobia in boxing, and almost 90% agree there is a problem with transphobia in the sport.

Stark continues “We clearly need to continue to work to remove barriers, create greater awareness and safety, and together grow the sport we love.”

Diversity Atlas extended its support for the event and cause, with CEO Peter Mousaferiadis stating that the company was “immensely honored to assist local and international initiatives such as the WGBC and recognize this opportunity as a landmark moment of reflection and change”.

Stark concluded with a message, “The global sporting fraternity can follow the example set by the Australian amateur boxing community who helped us deliver the World Gay Boxing Championships.”