The Outsport Project Draws to a Close

29th November 2019

The Outsport Project Draws to a Close

The Outsport Final Conference was held in Budapest on 8th November, bringing the project to a formal close.

The closing conference was the final step of a 3 years-long innovative and challenging project, co-financed by the European Commission through the Erasmus Plus program, on the topic of “Innovative and educational approaches to prevent violence and tackle discrimination in sport based on sexual orientation and gender identity”. The project was coordinated by AICS (Italian Association for Culture and Sport) with key partners from Scotland (LEAP Sports Scotland), Germany (German Sport University Cologne), Austria (VIDC) and Hungary (FRIGO).

Opening the works of the conference, Marisa Fernández Esteban, Deputy Head of the Sport unit, Directorate-General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of the European Commission said: “Projects like Outsport, that seeks to address homophobia and transphobia in sport through scientific research, communication and training, help us create more resilient and inclusive societies

Outsport strives to make sport a tool to educate against any form of exclusion and a chance to develop social competencies in continuity with the school.

The detailed report is a valuable tool that highlights the differences with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity, offering a rich and wide perspective of anti-LGBTI attitudes in sport and in different sport disciplines and environments, as lived and perceived by LGBTI people”.

Main Project Outputs

Outsport Main Report

Outsport Scotland Report

Outsport Toolkit

During the conference, the two main Outsport outcomes were presented:

1) The Final Report on the EU-wide research on the experience of LGBTI people in sport, coordinated by the German Sport University of Cologne. The report is now available here and contains the aggregated data results at EU level - highlighting the differences regarding sexual orientation and gender identity between the five project countries as well as all the other EU member states. The report therefore illustrates a rich and wide perspective of anti-LGBTI attitudes in sport, including different sport disciplines and environments, as lived and perceived by LGBTI people.

Additional country-specific reports were also published, including the above Scotland report, which details research findings gathered both from survey responses in Scotland and interviews held with representatives from sportscotland, Scottish Disability Sport, Scottish Student Sport, and Community Leisure Scotland.

More than 5,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from all 28 EU countries completed the online survey. Some key findings include:

  • Almost 90% of respondents consider homophobia and particularly transphobia in sport a current problem; 
  • 20% refrain from participating in a sport of interest due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity; 
  • 16% of respondents who are currently active in any sports have had at least one negative personal experience in the last 12 months that was related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The share here is higher among trans people — especially among trans women (46%).

Based on these survey findings, umbrella organisations and federations from the 5 projects countries were interviewed about their strategies in tackling homo-/transphobic discrimination in the field of sport. That data has in turn been used to produce 5 specific focus booklets for each partner country (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Scotland), containing local highlights and recommendations specific to their national contexts.

2) A pedagogical toolkit to address LGBTI inclusion in and through sport. Outsport aims to promote a new inclusive training approach: apart from contrasting homophobia and transphobia in sport, Outsport strives to make sport a tool to educate against any form of exclusion and a space in which social competencies can be developed in continuity with schools and other educators. On this front, the second main outcome is the publication of the Training Toolkit, a manual for those working in sport and education with exercises and practices tested during the project and based on the Non-Formal Education through Sport methodology (

All partner organizations agreed on the importance of introducing a specific focus in the next European Work Plan for Sport - contrasting homo-transphobia and gender stereotypes. This would also enhance debate on gender equality.

LEAP Sports Recommendations

The findings of the Outsport project highlight a picture of LGBTI inclusion in sport in Scotland, which is one of both community and sports sector-led efforts to tackle exclusion, but also the persistence of individual, cultural and systemic barriers to LGBTI inclusion in sport with real impacts on LGBTI people accessing, participating and excelling in sport.

  • The sports sector should recognise that LGBTI-phobia exists in sport, that this has an impact on engagement, and that LGBTI people may, therefore, need additional measures to encourage and maximise participation;
  • LGBTI inclusion should be approached as a holistic issue pertaining to all parts of the sport system;
  • Priority should be given to including LGBTI community members in measures to determine policies or initiatives concerning LGBTI inclusion and equal participation within sports, and policies should be assessed for impact on LGBTI people;
  • Inclusion in sport must be understood as an intersectional matter; barriers to LGBTI inclusion in sport include wider barriers of affordability, racism, and ableism among others;
  • Athlete-led and fan-led measures to tackle problematic attitudes and cultures in sport should be supported, to promote ownership of pro-LGBTI initiatives from within sports and to embed and signpost cultures of solidarity;
  • Sports Governing Bodies should embrace opportunities within their own jurisdictions to provide fair and equal access to sport for trans, non-binary and intersex people, who are frequently particularly excluded, and consider ways in which they can influence long-term change on this matter;
  • There are worrying findings detailing the nature and extent of negative experiences in sport settings. More in-depth work is required to better understand LGBTI people’s experiences of physical violence and where behaviour has physically crossed the line;

Next Steps

The partners finally agreed on the importance of giving continuity to the work on this topic, including developing follow-up objectives and strategies building on the research conducted over the course of the project.

For this reason, it was considered particularly important to focus on developing the research and scientific aspect of the Outsport project, in order to deepen our knowledge and understanding of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in sport across Europe and to obtain a dynamic image of the phenomenon, as it evolves and changes and as policies impact it.

The training toolkit, research booklets in each partner country’s main language, pictures and other material from the final conference are available on our website, here. You can also find the complete research report here.

AICS Press Office
Andrea Maccarrone

Written on 29th November 2019.