LGBT teens half as likely to play sport

An international sportsperson has said he is “surprised and disheartened” at the news that LGBT teenagers are half as likely to play sports as straight children. Carlos Sayao, who competed in the Commonwealth Games and travelled with Canada to the 2016 Olympic Games, also told TV channel CBC that he wouldn’t have come out when he was swimming. He heard too many homophobic slurs and jokes from his fellow athletes, and also described a “general flaunting of masculinity” which when taken altogether created an atmosphere of intolerance. A recent University of British Columbia study found that over 15 years between 1998 and 2013, there was a significant decline in LGBT teens’ participation in sports. The senior author of the report, Elizabeth Saewyc, said teenagers who already suffer discrimination might not be eager to “take risks in places where they don’t see overt signs of a welcoming, inclusive and safe place to be.” Sayao, who passed the bar in 2015, said: “I was surprised because from my perspective as a lawyer who practices sports law and is involved in discrimination in sport issues, we are seeing a lot more athletes coming out in a very high profile way. “Even though there may be more role models for LGB youth to look up to, we are not seeing that transfer down to the grassroots level.