Students perceptions on homophobic and heterosexist behaviors in physical education

Paula Silva, Angelita Alice Jaeger, Pedro Valdivia-Moral


Homophobic behaviors can be seen as performances that reinforce masculinity or femininity linked to the heterosexual matrix. For this reason, study the prevalence of homophobic behaviors in the arena of sport and Physical Education (PE) are still important, particularly in societies profoundly marked by the patriarchal model. In the current study our aim is assess the perceptions of students about homophobia and heterosexism in secondary Portuguese schools, more specifically in PE classes. The sample of this study is composed of 223 first-year students taking a degree in sport. The perceptions of students about homophobia and heterosexism in PE classes were evaluated through a questionnaire. Heterosexist’s behaviors were perceived with more frequency in PE classes, and girls are more sensitive to perceive them. The results show than more than a half of participants perceived than PE teachers never openly confront homophobic behaviors and one third of students perceived that PE teachers never openly confront heterosexist behaviors. Therefore, approximately half of the students perceive that PE teachers create inclusion spaces. However, in the classroom, gay and lesbian people are in no occasion mentioned as examples.


Students; Homophobia; Heterosexism; Physical education

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