Experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students regarding sports participation in a South African rural based university
Though participating in sports has many health benefits which contribute to the improvement of quality of life for the individuals, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) students are unable to enjoy those benefits due to fear of stigma and discrimination which they experience during sport activities. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of LGBTI students regarding sports participation in a South African rural-based university. A qualitative exploratory descriptive study was conducted. The participants included 20 LGBTI students who were purposively recruited through purposive and snow-balling techniques. Data were collected through in-depth individual interviews and field notes. An inductive thematic approach was followed to analyse data. The findings indicated that LGBTI students are forced to behave as heterosexuals, excluded from participating in sports tournament, alienated from participating in sports by fellow students. They are unfairly labelled and called by derogatory names based on participation in specific sporting code. Stigma and discrimination experienced by LGBTI students regarding sport participation is negatively affecting their quality of life. The programmes for social behaviour change focusing on advocacy, education and support is recommended to ensure equal access of all qualifying students to university activities including sport and recreation without discrimination, and ensuring the adherence to Human rights of LGBTI students in a rural based university.
Keywords: Bisexual, gay, intersex, lesbian, sports participation, transgender.
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