LGBT+ Participation in Sports: ‘Invisible’ Participants, ‘Hidden’ Spaces of Exclusion

  • Scott Lawley
Part of the Palgrave Explorations in Workplace Stigma book series (PAEWS)


Noting that LGBT+ participants remain relatively ‘invisible’ within sports activities compared to the rest of society, this chapter examines the organisational and cultural reasons for this marginalisation and exclusion. In contrast to visible narratives of inclusivity, these reasons are located in ‘hidden’, cultural depths within sports organisations. Drawing on the works of Judith Butler and Henri Lefebvre, this chapter describes such cultures as heterogeneous and specific to the context of individual sports spaces, such as locker rooms and stadia, rather than as being a uniform phenomenon across the entirety of sports. This spatially contextual nature of LGBT+ marginalisation leaves it ‘hidden’ and difficult to challenge without intervening in these actual spaces where such marginalisation is created and experienced. LGBT+-specific sports groups are examined as counterpaces which not only promote LGBT+ visibility but also have their own normative dynamics that hide some expressions of identity within the LGBT+ spectrum.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott Lawley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Resource ManagementNottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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