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Do fans realize when they are being homophobic?

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People often point to the behavior of fans as why the sports world is homophobic. And there are certainly examples anyone can use to showcase homophobia in the stands. In Europe, those examples can amount to entire sections chanting gay slurs and other anti-gay messages, though in the United States those kinds of behaviors en masse have been curtailed.

Just this week we had two stories of fans doing things at games and celebration events that clearly had subconscious (or conscious) messages of homophobia, linking gay men to weakness or the dreaded role of "other."

We talk about the impact of these messages on LGBT fans, athletes and coaches. Do these actions reflect an outward hatred for LGBT people? Do fans even realize that what they are doing is homophobic and hurtful to LGBT people? The answer, as usual, is mixed.

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