RealJock.com needs your help finding participants for a study of gay athletes. The study is being conducted by Paul Tontz (DU_JOCK on RealJock), a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Denver. If you are gay or bi and play Division I competitive sports (or if you know someone who meets these criteria), please consider participating or forwarding along this article to possible participants.
Tontz's study, "Chameleon on the Court: Understanding Factors that Contribute to Invisibility/Visibility for Division I Gay Male College Athletes," tries to determine why some athletes come out, and why others feel they cannot. The study explores whether self-identified gay males become visible or remain invisible regarding their gay identity to their team and coaches.
"I am hoping to reveal these factors for high-profile athletics such as NCAA Division I teams, with the hope that it will provide athletics administrators, coaches, and faculty with ways to support a positive gay identity for [college athletes]," Tontz told RealJock.com.
How to Participate
Participants should meet the following criteria:
- Gay or bisexual and male
- Between the ages of 18 and 24
- Currently a student and an athlete
- Participate in Division I athletics
- Both closeted or out athletes are welcome
Athletes who wish to participate should send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or call Tontz at (619) 857-8344. All emails and phone calls are confidential.
More About the Study
Competitive athletics remains one of the last great holdouts of openly expressed (and even celebrated) homophobia. Just ask gay former professional athletes like John Amaechi, Billy Bean, or Esera Tuaolo. By helping with studies like this one, you can help break down many of the myths about LGBT people in sports.
Athletes can expect to do a quick 10-minute screening interview to see if they fit the criteria for participation. If they meet the criteria, Tontz will explain the interview process and schedule a convenient time that he can come to them to do the interviews. Tontz will travel to the athlete's city for the interview.
"I will be interviewing athletes in person," said Tontz. "However, athletes can be assured that I take very seriously the idea of confidentiality. None of their personal information will be shared with anyone unless they tell me about a plan to hurt themselves or someone else. I hope that [athletes will] please consider participating. Without their knowledge this project could not be completed."
Any identifiers such as the school name or the student-athlete's name will be changed and any other identifiers will be "masked" to maintain confidentiality. Interviews will also be held at the participant's location of choice.
Tontz's study will be published by August 2008. To learn more about this study of gay male college athletes, visit The Gay College Athlete Study web site.