Attitudes and Experiences of LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Figure Skating: The Role of Known Intergroup Contact

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The sport landscape has shifted in recent years in relation to LGBTQI2S inclusion by way of greater awareness through academic research and popular publications, increased numbers of publicly “out” athletes, and the development of ally organizations. In an effort to augment academic and practitioner knowledge, this research project explored contemporary attitudes of athletes, coaches, officials, and administrators toward LGBTQI2S persons in figure skating. An online survey with Likert-scale and open-ended questions was made available to current members of Skate Canada, the national governing body for figure skating in Canada. Intergroup contact theory and queer theory were utilized as the theoretical foundations through which to analyse and cogitate data generated from 106 responses. Results from the quantitative and qualitative analyses indicated (1) that attitudes toward LGBTQI2S inclusion in figure skating were mostly positive, albeit with some reservations stemming from concerns about the fair and equal participation of trans persons in sport; (2) that known intergroup contact was significantly connected to attitudes toward LGBTQI2S inclusion, particularly in relation to personal support and advocacy of these persons; (3) that individuals’ underlying (non)heteronormative assumptions regarding gender as essentialist or relativist contributed greatly to the conceptualization of trans inclusion in sport as either fair or unfair; and, (4) that respondents tended to phrase their support of LGBTQI2S persons as a desire or willingness to seek educational and/or advocacy opportunities regarding inclusive practices. The knowledge gained from this research will be used to invoke more inclusive practices within Canadian figure skating specifically, as well as sport more generally. Increased quantity and quality of intergroup contact with LGBTQI2S persons, and improved educational/environmental advocacy for inclusion in figure skating and sport more generally are recommended.
Foucault, Allport, Intergroup Contact Theory, Queer Theory, LGBTQI2S, Inclusion, Social Justice, Sociology, Sociology of Sport, Sport and Society, Figure Skating, Trans Inclusion Policy, Inclusive Spaces, Poststructuralism, Survey, Mixed-Methods, Thematic Analysis, Statistical Analysis
Schnell, A. J. (2019). Attitudes and Experiences of LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Figure Skating: The Role of Known Intergroup Contact (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from