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

Boxers, 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, and
  • almost half (46%) say there are visible signs for 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.

Stark said, “these results highlight 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.  The results of the survey create an opportunity for us to partner with boxing organisations and provide a benchmark from which we can measure progress”.

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

  • Almost 40% respondents having 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, and
  • 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, that “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 their support for the event and cause, with CEO Peter Mousaferiadis stating that the company was “immensely honoured to assist local and international initiatives such as the WGBC and recognise this opportunity as a landmark moment of reflection and change”.

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

Photo Credit: Nigel Owens & Martin Stark –  World Gay Boxing Championships