Homosexual Athlete And The Athlete Essay

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Homosexuality has nothing to do with whether or not one is a proficient athlete. However, due to predisposed perceptions of what it is to be an athlete and what it is to be homosexual, the words homosexual athlete and the athlete himself are not always met with the warmest of regards. The reason for this dissonance can be somewhat explained through the Role Congruity Theory. Role congruity is the social phenomenon that an individual is perceived more positively when their actions and behaviors are consistent with their gender (Lanter 2008). When action and gender are perceived to be inconsistent the perceptive party feels dissonance, which is can be displayed in a variety of ways ranging from avoidance to disgust or even anger. Athletes are big and strong, they are the men that the women swoon over and the men wish to be. Athletes are considered to be the ideal picture of what it means to society to be a man. When an athlete comes out as gay, especially a male athlete, it skews the entire picture for some; leaving them lost and questioning what exactly it means to be a man based on their learned societal constructs.
To understand role congruity, one must first understand the social nature of gender. Initial impressions are typically formed on the basis of three factors: race, sex, and age. This is when the mind goes through every experience and catalogs the individual based on previous information and personal interactions. This catalog consists of information that has been
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